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Five hundred arhat statues, Niche 168, Beishan Rock Carvings (北山石刻) Anderl, Christoph


This niche is located in Beishan Rock Carvings (北山石刻), Fowan (佛灣), Dazu (大足) District, Chongqing. Five hundred and five seated arhat statues appear in this niche, distributed in the middle (93 figures), left side (210 figures) and right side walls (202 figures). Each wall contains six rows of arhat statues. Those figures on the upper part of the walls are better preserved, while those near the bottom are mostly eroded. Most arhats wear cross-collar robes, hold ritual objects in their hands, and have circular halos. A square shrine on the upper part of the middle wall depicts a seated Buddha and two seated bodhisattvas flanked by six standing disciples. On the top row near the niche frame of each side wall, a triad of one seated Buddha and two standing bodhisattvas is carved. Moreover, eighteen inscriptions are found on the walls of this niche. Most of them were dated to the Xuanhe period of the Song dynasty 1119-1125 CE (北宋宣和年間). An octagonal stone pagoda is placed in the middle of this niche. An inscription with ten characters, ‘Ming xiyu zuo tuo da chanshi zhi ta 明西域坐脫大禪師之塔', is engraved on the lintel of the pagoda. In the shrine of this pagoda, there is a plaque dated 1634 CE (明崇禎七年) recording the biography of a Chan master. 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. 369-407. Descriptions of the photos: Surrounding environment of the niche [1,2]. Signage board of the niche [3]. Close-up of left side wall [4, 5]. Close-up of right side wall [6,7]. Close-up of pagoda [8,9]. Metadata created by: Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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