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Niche 17 and 18, Qianfo zhai (千佛寨) Anderl, Christoph; Yu, Sau Ling Wendy


These two niches are located in Qianfo zhai 千佛寨, Anyue xian 安岳縣, Sichuan sheng 四川省. Niche 17 contains three standing buddha images with oval halos. According to a record of the original inscriptions (see Niche 16), they are the buddhas of the three ages (Skt. tryadhva-buddha; Ch. sanshi zhufo 三世諸佛 ). There is also an eroded guardian deity on the left side of the outer shrine. An inscription with the characters 囗袁王氏 is written in the top left corner of this niche (Inscription B). Niche 18 has three standing bodhisattva images with oval halos. As stated in a record of the original inscriptions, they are images of Avalokitesvara. In addition, there are four small unidentified images at the waist level next to each bodhisattva. The one on the right of the middle bodhisattva is completely worn out. An inscription with the characters 亡母度氏供養 is carved on the left of the middle bodhisattva (Inscription C). There is also an inscription with three columns of Chinese characters on the left edge of the niche (Inscription D). The characters in the upper part are eroded. Those in the lower part are written as follows (columns from right to left) 事安岳縣錄, 制极授簡州平, 縣令黎遠欽供養. There is also an inscription carved between these two niches (Inscription A). However, most of the characters are eroded and only a few characters in the lower part are recognizable. The six columns read, from right to left: 八日丁, 令賓願, 亡母及亡, 身並永為, 男前州巿, 座玄應書. The original inscription is recorded in a previous survey (Hu 1994, p. 71). According to the inscriptions, these two niches were sponsored by a donor in the twentieth year of the Kaiyuan reign (開元廿年, 732 CE) of the Tang Dynasty. Original inscription: [開]元廿年歲次壬申十二月庚囗朔十八日丁卯 前安岳縣騎都尉勛官五品黎令賓 願敬造東面三世諸佛囗囗囗囗亡父亡母及亡囗 造西面救苦觀世音菩薩一龕三身並永為囗囗 前安居縣巿令普囗[州]助教岌恪男前州巿囗 尉勛官七品處運囗囗供養寺上座玄應書 The photographs show: An overview of the complex from the left angle [1]. A diagram indicating the location of niches and the inscriptions (created by Sau Ling Wendy Yu) [2]. An overview of Niche 18 and Inscription C, photo taken from below [3]. An overview of Niches 17 and 18, photo taken from below [4]. The inscription between Niches 17 and 18 (Inscription A) [5]. The inscription between Niches 17 and 18 (Inscription A) [6]. Inscription B [7]. Inscriptions D [8]. Reference: Hu Wenhe 胡文和, 1994: Sichuan daojiao fojiao shiku yishu 四川道教佛教石窟藝術 [The Art of Sichuan Daoist and Buddhist Grottoes]. Chengdu: Sichuan renmin chubanshe. Metadata created by: Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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