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Niches 146, 147 and 148, 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. Niche 146: Two severely eroded bodhisattva figures remain in the central wall. Both sit on Sumeru thrones decorated with a lotus blossom and a lotus bud in front of the throne. The bodhisattva on the left is seemingly seated in a Lalitasana posture with the left leg crossed. However, the right leg and the right arm are lost. The head of the bodhisattva is also damaged. A trace of the circular head halo remains. The bodhisattva on the right side, whose head is lost, is six-armed. The two hands of the upper arms hold up a circular plate. The middle left hand has a noose, while the right one holds a sword. The lower left hand has a bowl in front of the belly and the right holds a willow branch. Railings decorated with four small child motifs are depicted at the bottom part of the niche. Niche 147: The central wall depicts a Buddha flanked by two disciples and two bodhisattvas. The Buddha wearing a double-collar drooping cassock is seated on a Sumeru throne in European sitting posture, with both feet resting on lotus pedestals. His peach-shaped halo with the tip touching the lotus motif on the ceiling is trimmed with flame patterns. A bowl is depicted on the left edge of the halo. The Buddha’s left hand touches his left knee, while the right hand forms a mudra in front of the chest. The two bodhisattvas are seated in European sitting postures on lotus thrones, holding circular plates in front of their bellies. Their feet are also placed on lotus pedestals. Besides, the bodhisattvas have circular head halos and oval body halos. The monk-like disciple on the Buddha’s left side forms an Añjali Mudra (Chinese: heshi 合十), while the right one carries a staff with six rings. Twelve severely eroded guardian deities are shown at the lower edge of the niche. Either side wall contains four standing bodhisattva images at the lower part and a feitian 飛天 (Sanskrit: apsaras) image in the upper part. Their identities cannot be identified since most are badly eroded. Niche 148: The central wall depicts a six-armed seated bodhisattva. The bodhisattva wears a large headdress decorated with floral patterns. Either hand of the upper arms holds a circular plate. The middle left hand has a noose, while the right one holds a sword. The lower left hand has a bowl in front of the belly, and the right holds a willow branch. Descriptions of the photos: Key to the niches [1] Overview of the niches [2] Close-up of Niches 146 and 147 [3] Close-up of Niche 146 [4] Close-up of Niche 147 [5] Close-up of Niche 148 [6, 7] Metadata created by: Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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