Important Cultural PropertyMaitreya (Miroku Bosatsu) Triad niche

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Images

  • 1 piece
  • Limestone
  • Total H110.0 total W73.5 total depth12.0, Central image H49.0
  • Tang period/Chang'an 3 (703)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TC-720
  • Pao-Ch'ing Ssu Temple, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

 The Hokeiji Stone Images of Buddha are famous as images representing the Buddhist sculpture of the High Tang period as can be seen in the realistic and rich representation of the body and varied decorative patterns, which are the influence of Indian Gupta art.
 These Buddhist stone images used to decorate the Shippodai, which was built in 703 by Empress Wu Zetian, who replaced the Tan Dynasty with the Chou Dynasty, on the precincts of Kotakuji Temple in the Kotaku residential quarters of Changan Castle. Later, they were moved to Hokeiji Temple (Katoji) in Anninbo, Xian (Changan) and enshrined in the brick tower and main hall of the temple. However, in the early twentieth century, most of the images were taken out of the country and at present, 32 stone images exist, including those remaining in China, such as the trinity-type images with Sakyamuni with a goma-in sign, sitting Miroku or seated Amitaba as the central deity and the one-deity type of standing eleven-headed Kannon images. Among these, several images bear an inscription where the years 703, 704 and 724 are noted. Some argue, however, that the year 724 was added later and the images were created during 703 to 704.
 The background behind the construction of Kotakuji Temple and the creation of the Buddhist images reflects the policy of Empress Wu Zetian, who carried out the "Wu-Chou" revolution in cooperation with Buddhist temples and serves as valuable material for understanding the acceptance of Buddhism at the time.

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