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Transformation tableau of Medicine Buddha Sutra, Niche 255, 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. The middle wall depicts a seated Buddha flanked by two seated bodhisattvas. The Buddha image, whose head is lost, has a circular body halo and a peach-shaped head halo trimmed with flame patterns. He is seated in a Lalitasana posture on a Sumeru throne, the left leg crossed and the right leg stepping on a lotus. His left hand touches his left knee. A staff is carved next to the Buddha’s right on the middle wall. A pair of bodhi trees are depicted behind the Buddha’s back, and the tree canopy extends to the ceiling. The two bodhisattvas are seated in a European posture. They wear crowns and hold round objects in front of their bellies. The design of their halos is similar to those of the Buddha image. Four standing bodhisattvas are depicted on either side wall. They all have circular halos, and most join their hands to form Añjali Mudras (Chinese: 合十). Twelve standing images are depicted on the platform below the Buddha. Their heads are lost. A small shrine with several donor images, which are severely eroded, is carved on either side outside the niche frame. Inscriptions dated to 907-965 CE (前後蜀) are found outside the niche frame, indicating that this is a niche for the transformation tableau of Medicine Buddha Sutra (yaoshi jingtu bianxiang 藥師淨土變相). Another set of inscriptions during the same period records a female devotee with the surname Jie (解氏) donated this niche. 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. 3-1, Chongqing: Chongqing chubanshe, 2018, p. 262-263. Descriptions of the photos: Overview of the niche [1]. Close-up of the left side wall [2]. Close-up of the right side wall [3]. Close-up of the niche [4]. Metadata created by: Sau Ling Wendy Yu.

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