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Overview of Thousand Buddha cave (Qianfo dong 千佛洞), Pilu dong 毗廬洞 Anderl, Christoph


The Thousand Buddha cave (Ch. Qianfo dong 千佛洞) was cut into the cliff wall of Pilu cave (Pilu dong 毗盧洞), Anyue xian 安岳縣, Sichuan sheng 四川省 during the Song 宋 dynasty (960-1279). This cave is about 7.45 meters in width, 8.6 meters in depth, and 7 meters in height. Three main statues are positioned on an elevated altar at the south wall of the cave. They represent the main iconographic element of the cave: Buddha Amitâbha is in the center seated next to him two bodhisattvas, Guanyin (Ch. Guanyin pusa 觀音菩薩) and Dashizhi (Dashizhi pusa 大勢至菩薩). The height of the seated Amitâbha is 2.2 meters, with a 0.6-meter-height lotus pedestal. The height of the two seated bodhisattva statues with jeweled crowns is 1.88 meters. Aside from the triad on the south wall, statues of two standing monks and eighteen seated arhats are located on the both west and east side of the altar. A distinctive feature of this cave is the 316 seated Buddha-like high relief figures located in small round niches on the lower register of the cave wall on three sides. These reliefs are unusual in that each displays individual iconographic features such as hairstyles, attributes, and posture. Names of donors beside each figure. In a few cases more detailed patronage information has been inscribed outside the niches. None of the inscriptions provide details concerning the construction date of tje cave. Experts generally argue that these reliefs were carved during the Song through Ming (1368-1644) periods . Photos [2], [3], [4], and [5] show exterior views of the cave. Photo [6] shows the wooden columns and roof that protected stone statues and cliff carvings for centuries. Photos [7] and [8] show an interior view of the east (left) side. Photos [9] and [10] show and interior view of the west (right) side. Photo [11] shows the contemporary English introductory plaque for visitors. Metadata created by Huajie Fan (May 31, 2022).

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