The Art of Buddhist Figures in China

China in the ancient times was a Buddhist country. When you have China tours to the northwest China, you may find that there are many temples and buddhists figures. The following introduce you the art of Buddhist Figures.




The art of Buddhist figures in China took shape with the introduction of Indian Buddhism. The legend had it that on a certain night of the year 60, Ming Emperor Liu Zhuang in Eastern Han dreamed a golden man without knowing where he came from. The next day, the emperor called his subjects together to explain the dream. A minister named Fu Yi said Xitianzhu (in ancient India) had such a sage called Buddha dressed in gold. What the emperor had dreamed must be the Buddha. Then the emperor sent one of his attendants, Cai Yin, with thousands of soldiers, to Tianzhu on a diplomatic mission to seek Buddhist doctrine. In 67, they returned to China with Buddhist scripture and figures. This was the first record on China's Buddhist figures in ancient books, but it didn't tell what kind of figures they were. From the existing stone sculptures and pottery Buddhist figures, we will find that the Han people carved them according to the images of celestial beings in vogue at that time.




In the Five Dynasties and 16 States, Buddhist figures in Chinese style began to show up. They were not reliefs or shallow-carved images attached to other objects, but whole Buddhist figures with complete body structure. The statues, however, still followed the suit of Indian models.




In the Northern Wei period, the art of Buddhist figures flourished and began to shake off trace from ancient India. At that time, emperors believed in Buddhism which resulted in a nationwide practice to cast figures. The early works were greatly influenced by the Indian arts. The most attractive was two gold-plated copper buddhas sitting abreast. Hebei region was then the figure-carving centre and had gathered many skillful craftsmen from the country. Among the Yungang Grottoes we found many ancient outstanding works.




Figures of the middle of the Wei Dynasty changed a lot in that Buddha's faces which once had been plump and decorous became fine and decated. In the late Northern Wei, Longmen style which laid stress on realness and meticulosity became the main stream in Buddhist figure carving. The works presented fine workmanship and a realistic approach. In the era of Xiaoming Emperor, this exciting artistic style was widely accepted as a rule for the then figure-carving craftsmen to follow.




Buddhist figures in Western Wei not only preserved the delicated and elegant bearings of Northern Wei but also were permeated with more artistic interest of life. The varied looks and unrestrained carriage were most fully displayed in the Grotto Temple on Maijishan Mountain.




Buddehist figures in temple are very usual. Even you have Hong Kong tours, you can also find some temples.

  1. 2012/11/29(木) 18:54:26|
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