By Qiang Ning
The cave-temple advanced popularly referred to as the Dunhuang caves is the world's biggest extant repository of Tang Buddhist artwork. probably the greatest preserved of the Dunhuang caves is the Zhai kin Cave, inbuilt 642. it's this impressive cave-temple that varieties the point of interest of Ning Qiang's cross-disciplinary exploration of the interrelationship of artwork, faith, and politics in the course of the Tang. In his cautious exam of the work and sculptures chanced on there, the writer combines the old examine of images with the pictorial learn of heritage. by means of using this two-fold process, he's in a position to consult with textual facts in studying the formal beneficial properties of the cave-temple work and to hire visible information to fill within the historic gaps necessarily left via text-oriented students. the result's a complete research of the visible tradition of the interval and a brilliant description of social existence in medieval China. the unique Zhai relatives Cave photographs have been painted over within the 10th century and remained hidden until eventually the early Nineteen Forties. as soon as uncovered, the early paintings seemed clean and colourful compared to different Tang work at Dunhuang.
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Additional resources for Art, Religion and Politics in Medieval China: The Dunhuang Cave of the Zhai Family
E. Buddhist scriptures. Most sutras on the Western Pure Land, including the Wuliangshou jing (Sutra of the Buddha of ally mention a lotus pond but do not describe it in inﬁnite life), Amituo jing (Amitâbha sutra), and Guan detail. For example, the Lotus Sutra (Miaofa lianhua Wuliangshou jing (Visualization sutra), describe in jing) talks about “rebirth through the lotus ﬂower” detail the beauty and splendor of the lotus ponds in but does not provide any details of the lotus pond. ) caves at Dunhuang, to symbolize the Western Pure Land in Buddhist including Caves 257, 251 (Fig.
I c o n o g r a p h y o f t h e O r i g i n a l E a r l y Ta n g P a i n t i n g s Cave 220 is intended to represent the Eastern Pure Land of Bhai∂ajya-guru, we ﬁnd a sign of transition from the representation of the Healing Ritual to the representation of the Eastern Paradise. Before Cave 220, all illustrations of the Bhai∂ajyaguru Sûtra depict the Healing Ritual with various visual details. Yet after Cave 220, all illustrations of the same sutra focus on the Paradise of the Healing Buddha instead of the ritual devoted to him.
Their bodies are protected by armor, their hands grasp weapons, as though they are great generals of the Tang army, and their heads are adorned by helmets decorated with animal symbols (Fig. 38 T H E E I G H T O R T E N B O D H I S AT T VA S Ten bodhisattvas are depicted among the seven Buddha images. The two bodhisattvas who ﬂank the central Buddha diﬀer slightly from the other eight bodhisattvas in terms of location and posture. They may be considered to be the two chief assistants to the Healing Master (Plate 5).