By Qiang Ning
The cave-temple advanced popularly often called the Dunhuang caves is the world's greatest extant repository of Tang Buddhist artwork. top-of-the-line preserved of the Dunhuang caves is the Zhai relations Cave, in-built 642. it truly is this amazing cave-temple that kinds the focal point of Ning Qiang's cross-disciplinary exploration of the interrelationship of paintings, faith, and politics through the Tang. In his cautious exam of the work and sculptures came across there, the writer combines the historic examine of images with the pictorial examine of background. by way of utilising this two-fold process, he's in a position to seek advice from textual facts in studying the formal gains of the cave-temple work and to hire visible information to fill within the historic gaps unavoidably left by means of text-oriented students. the result's a accomplished research of the visible tradition of the interval and a vibrant description of social existence in medieval China. the unique Zhai kin Cave photos have been painted over within the 10th century and remained hidden until eventually the early Forties. as soon as uncovered, the early art seemed clean and colourful compared to different Tang work at Dunhuang.
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Extra resources for Art, Religion and Politics in Medieval China: The Dunhuang Cave of the Zhai Family
8). 33 This textual description of the Healing Ritual matches the visual details in the painting on the north wall of Cave 220 as follows. LIGHTING THE L AMPS A crucial component of the Healing Ritual is to light lamps in front of the images of the Healing Buddha. Two large “lamp trees” (dengshu) and a miniature “lamp tower” (denglou) are shown in front of the seven Buddha images in the painting. e. e. trees” contain several tiers of the “lamp wheels” (denglun), on which numerous oil lamps shine (Fig.
In the examples mentioned above, it is not clear which “pure land” the lotus pond is a symbol of, and this ambiguity in its identity suggests that it could be used to symbolize the “pure land” of any Buddha. It is possible that the painter of the north wall of Cave 220 tried to use this motif to indicate the Eastern Paradise of the Healing Buddha or at least a holy platform on which the images of the Healing Master should be placed. If the lotus pond on the north wall painting of tive wells painted on the ceilings of the Dunhuang caves, there are naked people swimming in the water (Fig.
It also matches the motifs depicted on the north wall of Cave 220. In particular, the last sentence of the poem mentions the “terrace of lapis lazuli” (liulitai), which exactly echoes the crystal-like terrace or platform in the painting. It is possible that in the common imagination of the late Sui and early Tang period, a “terrace” (lan) or “platform” (tai) made of lapis lazuli would appear in the Healing Ritual or similar events. The lotus pond appearing in this painting is not recorded either in the Dunhuang-Huijian or in the Dharmagupta versions (Fig.
Art, Religion and Politics in Medieval China: The Dunhuang Cave of the Zhai Family by Qiang Ning