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Niche 5, the Three Saints of the West (西方三聖), Qianfo zhai (千佛寨) Anderl, Christoph


This niche is located in Qianfo zhai 千佛寨, Anyue xian 安岳縣, Sichuan sheng 四川省. Dimension: 6.2m (H) x 5.3m (W) x 2.2m (D). The niche was constructed in the Tang Dynasty. It was enlarged during the Song Dynasty, when statues of the Three Saints of the West (Ch. Xifang sansheng 西方三聖) were carved on the central wall. The middle statue is Amitābha Buddha (Ch. Amituofo 阿彌陀佛) with a height of 4.8 metres. A robe containing U-shaped draperies is depicted. The two attendant bodhisattvas are 4.6 metres tall. The bodhisattva to the left of Amitābha Buddha is Avalokiteśvara (Ch. Guanyin 觀音), holding an auspicious jewel in his left hand. Another bodhisattva is Mahāsthāmaprāpta (Ch. Dashizhi 大勢至). He is holding a stem of lotus with the bud resting on his right shoulder. There are several small shrines of Buddhist images carved on both sidewalls. According to a previous inscription on the right sidewall, the niche was renovated in the third year of the Shaoxi 紹熙 reign (1192 CE). The middle statue is labeled a Longevity Buddha (Ch. Changshou wangrulai 長壽王如來), another name for Amitābha Buddha. See 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, pp. 71-72. The photographs show: An overview of the three main statues [1]. A close-up of the highest shrine on the right sidewall [2]. A close-up of the highest shrine on the left sidewall [3]. A close-up of Amitābha and Mahāsthāmaprāpta [4]. Metadata created by: Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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