Chinese archaeologists have claimed to have discovered the world's smallest ancient temple with Mahayana scriptures in the southern rim of the Taklimakan desert in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
The temple, dating back more than 1,500 years, was located about seven km from the Damagou township of Cele county.
The Tuopulukedun temple is 2.25 mt long and 2 mt wide, with walls about 1.3 mt high.
The wood-and-mud structured temple has fine frescos of Mahayana scriptures on the four walls. A Buddha statue, about 0.65 mt tall, stood in the central part of the temple.
In the middle of the northern parts stand other Buddha statues.
The Tuopulukedun temple is so far the smallest ancient temple that has been discovered in the world, Xinhua news agency quoted Wu Xinhua, head of the Xinjiang Archaeological Team of the Archaeology Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as saying.
"The temple is also the sole ancient temple, which is comparatively intact and with the best-reserved frescos and Buddha figures discovered in the Taklimakan desert," Wu said.
Approximately 3,000 years ago, the Yutian kingdom was established in the southern rim of the Taklimakan desert, the largest desert in China and the second largest desert in the world.
The Yuchi family, which began ruling the Yutian kingdom around 2,000 years ago, were devoted Buddhists and made great efforts to promote Buddhism inside the kingdom by building many temples and Buddhist pagodas.