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The Middle Cave of the Xiaonanhai Grottoes of the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577 A.D.) Li, Lan


The Middle Cave of the Xiaonanhai Grottoes is well preserved with delicate carvings. The main room of the cave is 1.2 meters in width, 1.4 meters in lengh and 1.8 meters in height, with an arched door about 1 meter high on its south site. The cliff outside and above the door were carved with inscriptions of the donor, Master Fang (方法師) from the Lingshan Monastery (靈山寺), and passages from two Buddhist texts. One was a hymn in praise of the Avatamsaka Sūtra (Huayan jing jiezan 華嚴經偈贊). The other one was excerpts from Sagely Practice (Shengxing ping 聖行品) in Mahāparinirvana-Sūtra (Dabanniepan jing 大般涅槃經). This cave was donated by Master Fang in the memory of his mentor, the State Master Sengchou (僧稠). There are a Buddha statue and two attendant deciples statues carved on the rear wall of the main room. The reliefs of various Buddhist factors, such as stupas, flying apsaras and figures of donors surrounded, can be recognized on the rear wall as well. The figure of the Master Sengchou (僧稠) was carved on the left side of the Buddha.

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