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Niche 22 and two niches above it, Qianfo zhai (千佛寨) Anderl, Christoph


This complex of three niches are located in Qianfo zhai 千佛寨, Anyue xian 安岳縣, Sichuan sheng 四川省. The bottom one is numbered as niche 22. As for the other two, no number specification is provided. The niche on the top contains three standing bodhisattva images with oval halos. The identities of these bodhisattvas are uncertain. The niche in the middle has one buddha and two bodhisattva images, all in standing postures. Again, the extant elements are insufficient to indicate their identities. Niche 22 at the bottom has a sitting buddha image in the middle flanking by four standing bodhisattvas on each side. Given the sitting posture, the Buddha at the center may be Maitreya Buddha or Shakyamuni Buddha. The four bodhisattvas on the right of the buddha are not well preserved; the heads of some are damaged. Among the other four bodhisattvas on the left of the buddha is one with the bald head holding a staff. Given this characteristics, this bodhisattva may be Kṣitigarbha (Ch. Dizang 地藏). Under the figure of Dizang, a badly eroded figure is barely visible. Besides, there are two guardian deities outside the niche, of which the left one is nearly worn out. On the outer frame of the niche, the lintel is decorated with floral motifs while a prayer banner is carved on each side. Inscriptions are carved in both banners, the left banner reading 續惠命基 and the right one reading 增福德歲. The photographs show: An overview of the complex of niches from the left angle [1]. A closer view of the complex of niches from the left angle [2]. A overview of niche 22 from the right angle [3]. An overview of the two upper niches from below [4]. A scenic view outside the niches [5]. Close-up of the left prayer banner [6]. Close-up of the inscription of left prayer banner [7]. Close-up of the inscription of the right prayer banner [8]. Metadata created by: Anna Paulina Vasilieva, Sarah Smeulders, Zihui Yuan, Charlotte Mahieu and Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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