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Long Series of Stone Buddhas

view:author:Magic Stoneupdate:2012/11/16

Long Series of Stone Buddhas

A noticeable feature of the Buddhist temples and statues in the Five Dynasties, and Song, Liao, Kin and Yuan dynasties periods is the decrease of spiritual elements and the in crease of secular elements. In the 1,000 Buddha Hall of Lingyan Temple in Changqing , Shandong Province, the 40 colored clay statues of Buddhist arhats are life-size, with various traits of appearance according to their supposed different ages, experiences and dispositions, and lively and subtle expressions. These figures demonstrate the highly realistic level of Song Dynasty sculptures, and exude little spirituality. In the Holy Mother Hall in the Jin Memorial Shrine, Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, the 33 colored clay statues of the Holy Mother’s attendant maids look like any group of pretty young girls.

In the Mount Baoding Grottoes in Dazu County, Sichuan, there are thousands of statues sculpted in the Southern Song Dynasty. They are grouped, instead of being placed in separate niches, and tell the story of the Buddha’s life and enlightenment.

The stone carvings in the mausoleum of Emperor Wang Jian of the Former Shu Dynasty of the Five Dynasties period are the best of this kind. In the main tomb chamber, there is a stone coffin platform with reliefs of musical performers carved on all four sides. They are lifelike, and provide important reference material for the study of ancient Chinese music. In the rear chamber is an 86-cm-high seated statue of Emperor Wang Jian, whose features accord with those described in historical documents. This statue is of great value, for it is the only statue of a Chinese emperor made in his times that has ever been discovered. In this connection should be mentioned the imperial mausoleums of the Northern Song Dynasty in Gongxian Couty, Henan Province.