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Medicine Buddha statue accompanied by statues of disciples, bodhisattvas, guardians and donors (Niche 110), and two individual figures (Niche 108 and 109), Beishan Rock Carvings (北山石刻) Anderl, Christoph; Yu, Sau Ling Wendy


This complex of niches is located in Beishan Rock Carvings (北山石刻), Fowan (佛灣), Dazu (大足) District, Chongqing. Niches 108 and 109 appear outside the right frame of Niche 110. Niche 108 depicts a seated figure, while Niche 109 has a standing image. Since they are severely eroded, their identities are uncertain. The central wall of Niche 110 depicts eight figures. In the middle is a Buddha seated on a lotus throne decorated with a dragon motif. The upper body of this Buddha image was destroyed. Four lines representing the light emitted by the Buddha extend from the tip of the peach-shaped halo to the niche ceiling. Small Buddha images are depicted in the circles formed by the pair of lines surrounding the top edge of the central wall. Two standing disciple figures flank the Buddha. The disciple on the right holds a staff, while the one on the left has an auspicious cloud motif depicted next to his circular head halo. A bodhisattva on a Sumeru throne is shown on either side of the central wall. The left is adorned with a headdress, and a small figure is placed in front of his throne. The one on the right is severely damaged. Two small standing figures are found at the bottom of his throne. The left side wall also has a bodhisattva seated on a Sumeru throne. Traces of donor figures are found in front of the throne. There are also six guardian figures displayed in three layers. Those figures in the middle and bottom layers are severely damaged. The right side wall is badly ruined. Seemingly, it has the same setting as the left side wall. Two sets of inscriptions displayed in stele-shaped frames are carved on the upper border between the central and the side walls. The descriptions on the one between the central wall and the left side wall indicate that it is a niche for Medicine Buddha (Chinese: Yaoshifo藥師佛), offered by devotee Zhang Hui 張輝 in the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). Source: Dazu shike yanjiuyuan 大足石刻研究院. Dazu shike quanji 大足石刻全集 [Dazu Rock Carvings] Edited by Li Fangyin 黎方銀. 10 vols. Vol. 2-1, Chongqing: Chongqing chubanshe, 2018, pp. 66-67. Descriptions of the photos: Key to the niches [1] Overview of Niche 110 [2] Close-up of the right side wall, Niche 110 [3] Close-up of the left side wall, Niche 110 [4] Metadata created by: Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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