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Article

M. Yaldiz

[Bazaklik]

Site in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, 56 km north-east of Turfan. It is the site of the most outstanding complex of Buddhist cave temples in Khocho and is located in the steep side of an extensive terrace above the Murtuk River. At one time access to the caves was via free-standing timber buildings or terraces constructed in front of them, but by the time the caves were discovered by Albert von Le Coq at the beginning of the 20th century these were largely in ruins. In type the caves conform to those in the Kucha region (see Kizil; see also Central Asia, §II, 2).

The cave temples contained sculptures made of unfired clay, but it was mainly the wall paintings (removed by von Le Coq for safekeeping, few survive; see below) that in their unsurpassable diversity provided evidence of a flourishing Buddhist community. The most impressive were the paintings depicting consecration of a ...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

[Tun-huang.]

Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries located 25 km south-east of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Yulin caves at Anxi and the Xi qianfo dong (Western Cave of the Thousand Buddhas). From the 4th century to the 14th, Buddhist cave sanctuaries were continuously carved out in four or five tiers on the cliff face of an alluvial hill that faces east over the Dang River. At its height as a Buddhist complex in the 8th century ad, the complex is believed to have comprised more than 1000 caves. A total of 492 caves with wall paintings and sculptures survive, the earliest of which date to the early 5th century ad. A hoard of old and rare manuscripts was also found at Dunhuang, including the world’s oldest complete printed book (see China, People’s Republic of, §XIV, 3).

Dunhuang was first established as a garrison town in the ...

Article

Ganden  

Henrik H. Sørensen

[dga ’ldan]

Site near Dagzê, c. 40 km east of Lhasa, Tibet. It was the principal monastery founded by Tsong Khapa (1357–1419) in the early decades of the 15th century, and it thereafter became a major sanctuary of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism that he established. Formerly an impressive monastery town with several hundred shrines and chapels and a population of over 5000 lamas, Ganden was utterly destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–76). The monastery is still largely ruined, though some reconstruction has begun. The buildings that stand today all date from after 1980.

Ganden was built on the slopes of a hill with the buildings constructed in descending layers in a crescent shape. The heart of Ganden and its most important structure is Tsong Khapa’s Golden Tomb, the Ser Dung. This consists of several interconnecting buildings with high, tower-like superstructures and a courtyard; the inward-sloping walls are painted brown-red. This sanctuary contains several chapels with golden images of Buddhas and guardian deities. In the central chapel in the upper storey is Tsong Khapa’s tomb, a replica of the large stupa made of silver and gold in which the master was originally enclosed. Other main buildings include the Tri Dok Khang, where the abbot of Ganden lived. In a chapel on the second floor is kept a set of the ...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

[Kung hsien]

Site in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. A complex of five Buddhist caves, dating from the Northern Wei period (ad 386–534), is located on the south side of Mt Mang on the northern bank of the Yiluo River. The ground level along the river is higher than the ground level inside the caves by over a metre because of dirt accumulated from flooding. The construction of the caves, sponsored by the Northern Wei imperial family, took place between c. ad 505 and 526, starting with Cave 1. In addition, many small niches and inscriptions sponsored by other devotees were carved later on the outside of the caves and bear dates ranging from ad 531 to 1735.

Cave 1, on the far west, measures 6×6 m; caves 3, 4 and 5 are successively smaller in size, and Cave 2 is unfinished. All are square in layout and, except for Cave 5, have internal central pillars. The once coherent sculpted façade between caves 1 and 2 is now in a fragmentary state. Inside the caves, all surfaces are fully sculpted. The main Buddhist images occur in configurations of three or five, in niches occupying the centre portions of the west, north and east walls and the central pillars. The ceilings of caves 1, 3 and 4 are divided into squares by crossbeams, and each square is decorated with an ...

Article

Hadda  

E. Errington

[Haḍḍa; Hilo]

Site of numerous Buddhist monasteries, 8 km south-west of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It flourished from the 1st century bc to the 8th century ad. The ancient site, known as Hilo to Chinese pilgrims of the 5th–8th century, is partially covered by a modern village. The earliest archaeological reports were compiled by Claude-Auguste Court (1827), Charles Masson (1834) and William Simpson (1878–9). Masson excavated 14 stupas, primarily at Gundi Kabul (also known as Tepe Kabul and Tepe Safed). He also uncovered the stupa at Tepe Kalan (also known as Tapa-é-Top-é-Kalan, Tope Kelan and Bordji-i Kafariha). A French delegation excavated most of the remaining ruins, including Tepe Kafariha and Bagh Gai, between 1926 and 1928. In 1965 a Japanese mission investigated Lalma, 3 km south-west of Hadda. Tepe Shotor (also known as Tapa-é-Shotor) and Tepe Kalan were excavated by the Afghan Institute of Archaeology between 1965 and ...

Article

Khocho  

M. Yaldiz

[Karakhoja; Qočo; Chin. Gaochang]

Site 47 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The most important complexes of monasteries in the Khocho area are Idikutshahri, Lenger, Senghim and Bezeklik. To the west of the town is the Chinese necropolis of Astana. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area is that a ruler of the Tujue dynasty, probably of Turkish origin, had an inscription placed on a temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, in Khocho in ad 445. Chinese, Sogdians and Tokharians also lived here between the 5th and 7th century. Khocho was occupied by forces of the Tang dynasty in 640. A brief Tibetan interregnum (c. 790–843) ended when the Uygurs established their kingdom here. From the evidence of their manuscripts and art objects, the Uygurs not only observed the Buddhist cult but also practised Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism (see also Central Asia §II 1., (v)...

Article

Kizil  

M. Yaldiz

[Qizil]

Site of Buddhist monastic complexes c. 40 km north-west of Kucha on the upper reaches of the Muzart River in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. So far 227 caves have been uncovered. They are in a wall of rock pierced by a ‘Great Gorge’ in the western third of the complex and two ‘small’ gulleys to the east. At the end of the main terrace of the complex of caves a narrow path below the Devil’s Caves (nos 198 and 199 in the Chinese numerical system) leads north-east along the edge of the mountain to the ‘second’ and ‘third’ complexes.

Because they are so well preserved the temples can be unhesitatingly assigned to four definite architectural categories. Type 1 is what is known as the pillar-temple, consisting of a square or rectangular cella with a pillar forming the back wall. The cult image stands on a pedestal in front of the pillar. On either side there are corridors leading into a transverse passageway and into the mountain; these are used in the ritual transformation (Skt ...

Article

Kumtura  

M. Yaldiz

[Qumtura]

Site of Buddhist monasteries c. 25 km south-west of Kucha in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The monasteries were built on both banks of the Muzart River, spread out over three gorges, and comprised both cave temples and free-standing buildings. The architecture is the same as that at Kizil. The wall paintings (some in situ; some Berlin, Mus. Ind. Kst) are in the first and second Indo-Iranian styles (5th–7th century ad). However, there are also caves with paintings in the style of the Chinese Tang period (ad 618–907) dating from the 8th to the 10th century, mainly in the eastern monastery site north of the Silk Route, such as the Kinnarī, Apsaras and Nirvāna caves. These paintings are similar to those at Shorchuk and Turfan further east. There are also a few paintings showing a gentle transition to a third style, such as a preaching scene (Berlin, Mus. Ind. Kst, MIK III 9024), where Indo-Iranian elements mix with Buddhist–Chinese ones, so that it is impossible to compare the drawing and colours with the work of the main schools. The facial traits of the Buddha, the flaming halo and the spotted garments are strong eastern characteristics, while the braid, lotus and clothes of the monk show influence from the west....

Article

Longmen  

Molly Siuping Ho

[Lung-men]

Site of Buddhist cave temples located 12 km south of Luoyang, Henan Province, China. From the end of the 6th century ad to the mid-8th century many caves were excavated into the low limestone hills that run along the northern and southern banks of the Yi River. The sculptures and reliefs they contain, also carved from the living rock, range in size from the small to the colossal. Work was begun under the patronage of the Northern Wei dynasty (ad 386–534), the capital of which was moved in ad 493–4 from Datong, Shanxi Province, to Luoyang. Construction continued until 755, the year of the rebellion of An Lushan against the Tang dynasty (ad 618–907). The caves thus provide evidence both of the development of Buddhist sculpture and of the imperial patronage of the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties between the late 5th century ad and the mid-8th century. The scale and ambition of the project is evoked in the ...

Article

Miran  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monastic complexes and Tibetan fort in south-eastern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The earliest Buddhist complexes in eastern Central Asia, containing paintings of the 3rd–4th century ad, were discovered by Aurel Stein in 1906–7. Altogether Stein identified 16 buildings, some in a fragmentary state. Among them were two clay-brick stupas, which he called M. III and M. V. M. III consisted of a cella, the ground-plan of which was square externally and circular internally. In the centre stood a stupa on a circular base, probably of several storeys, with an ambulatory passageway round it. The interior of the cella was lit by three windows facing south, east and north; the entrance faced west. The walls of the ambulatory were covered with painted friezes ranged one above the other. The lower part of the wall was painted with lunette friezes separated from the paintings above by a dark, patterned band. The friezes in the north-east and south-east consisted of six lunettes. In the arch of each was depicted a human, winged creature whose soft round face with large eyes was turned to the left in three-quarter profile; apart from a thick tress on the top of the head and a wavy lock in front of the ear the hair was shorn (e.g. New Delhi, N. Mus.; see Yaldiz, pl. XXXII). The main paintings in the north-east and south-east sections—pictures of Buddhist legends—had become detached. One showed a standing Buddha with a nimbus in three-quarter profile. Based on a comparison with the style of ...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

[Mt Mai-chi; Maiji shan; Mai-chi shan]

Site of 194 Chinese Buddhist cave-temples, carved into the south cliff of Mt Maiji in Gansu Province. The area is prone to seismic activity, and the collapse of the central portion of the cliff during an earthquake in ad 734 divided the site into east and west sections. Access to the caves is by means of scaffold-like timber walkways. The cave-temples house the second largest collection of Chinese clay statuary, after Dunhuang. While the figures follow the style of mainstream Chinese sculpture found at the central Chinese sites of Gong Xian, Longmen and Yungang, the artists at Mt Maiji exercised more freedom and imagination in the modelling of the Buddhas and their groupings. The figures and walls were once painted, and about 900 sq. m of wall paintings survive, though in very poor condition.

The Buddhist activities at the site lasted from the 5th century ad to the Song period (...

Article

Sakya  

Henrik H. Sørensen

[sa skya; Chin. Sa’gya]

Site in western Tsang, Tibet, on the banks of the Sakya Tramchu River, c. 150 km south-west of Shigatse (Chin. Xigazê). It is the principal headquarters of the Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Sakya originally consisted of two separate monasteries: the Northern Monastery, founded in 1071 or 1073 by a powerful nobleman, Könchok Gyalpo (1034–1102), and later expanded by his son Kunga Nyingpo (fl 12th century); and the Southern Monastery, on the opposite side of the river, founded by a later leader in the order, Phagspa (1235–80). The Northern Monastery at one time consisted of 108 shrine-rooms, as well as several large stupas stretching along the northern bank and filling the hillside above the river. Some of the structures were surrounded by walls, but otherwise the monastery was open. Some time after 1959 it was utterly destroyed by the Chinese. Only one small structure, the shrine-room devoted to Ushnishavijaya, goddess of longevity, and some buildings used as living-quarters have been rebuilt....

Article

Samye  

Henrik H. Sørensen

[bsam yas; Chin. Samyai]

Site founded c. ad 770 in the Yarlung Valley, on the northern bank of the Tsangpo River west of Tsetang, Tibet. Traditionally considered the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, Samye was (and still is) a main sanctuary of the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. According to tradition it was founded by the Indian scholar–monk Shantarakshita (fl 8th century ad), who was invited to Tibet by Trisong Detsen (reg ad 755–c. 794). Popular beliefs also implicate the semi-legendary figure of Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche; fl 8th–9th century ad) with the erection of this monastery. Samye is situated at the foot of Mt Hepori, on which Trisong Detsen is said to have had his palace. To the left of the entrance to the main temple is a stele with the inscription in which Trisong Detsen declared Tibet a Buddhist nation in ad 779.

The central part of the monastery consists of one large and four lesser temples in the form of a ...

Article

Shalu  

Barry Till

[zhwa lu]

Site 19 km south-east of Shigatse in central Tibet. The monastery was founded in the 11th century, but only in the 14th century did it rise to prominence, when Buton Rinpoche (1290–1364), the abbot in residence, established the small but influential Buton or Shalu order. Buton had the temple extensively enlarged in 1333. He compiled manuals on the production of images and paintings and designed the layout of the main temple hall. For its construction Buton commissioned some of the finest craftsmen available, including artisans from China, Central Asia and Nepal. More than any other temple in Tibet, Shalu displays a multitude of styles from China, Mongolia, Central Asia, Nepal, Kashmir and India, making it one of the most important temples for the study of Tibetan paintings.

The monastery was divided into two parts, the oldest buildings on the western hillside and the newer section in the lower area of the valley. The older buildings, containing numerous ancient scriptures (some in Buton’s own handwriting), were destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Toyok  

M. Yaldiz

[Toyuq]

Site of Buddhist monasteries in a narrow river valley c. 20 km south-east of Khocho, in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. At the northern end of the gorge Buddhist monasteries were made by excavating into the sides of the mountain. Almost nothing was found in the monastic site on the right river-bank, as it had been badly damaged by melted snow and ice from the mountains. The monastery on the left bank, consisting of free-standing buildings and cave temples, contained wall paintings, paintings on paper and fabric, wooden sculptures and clay objects. Like the majority of the cult objects, they showed Chinese influence (8th–10th century ad). The Indo-Iranian style (6th–7th century ad) is present in only a few examples. The silk paintings demonstrate great artistic skill and are usually of Buddhist themes, such as two female donors (Berlin, Mus. Ind. Kst, MIK III 6341). A carved wooden standing image (h. 380 mm) of the ...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

[rtsa pa brang; Tsapakang]

Site of the second capital of the kingdom of Guge, Tibet, founded c. ad 900 in the Sutlej Vally, west of Tholing. Under King Yeshe Ö (reg mid-10th century), the kingdom prospered and Buddhism flourished. The monk Rinchen Sangpo (958–1055) is said to have had more than 100 temples built in the area. During the following centuries the seat of power shifted between Tsaparang and Tholing until the mid-17th century, when Tsaparang and its temples were abandoned. This once imposing town, built on the slopes and summit of a steep, rocky formation, is now in ruins. Five temples have survived, however, including—in the lower part of the town—the so-called White Temple, where some of the earliest examples of Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings can be found. Thought to date back more than a thousand years, they feature various Buddhas and major Tantric deities. Below this temple is a small chapel dedicated to Tsong Khapa (...

Article

Tumshuk  

M. Yaldiz

[Tumšuq; Uygur: ‘beak’]

Site of Buddhist monastery complexes in the extreme western part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. It is not mentioned in the Chinese annals or in reports of journeys by Buddhist pilgrims; it is possible that it was known by an older name. From the archaeological finds it seems that the monastery sites were in use between the 5th and 9th centuries ad. Paul Pelliot led a French expedition in the area in 1906. He discovered two important sites: the Tokkuz-sarai Monastery and Tumshuk-tagh, a site on three cliffs to the south, which he investigated superficially. In 1913 Albert von Le Coq found some exceptional wall paintings and numerous interesting wooden sculptures there.

The ruins of the Tokkuz-sarai Monastery, on a small plateau, covered an area of 300×200 m. The main sanctuary (30×50 m) consisted of a stupa surrounded by a courtyard with many rooms, smaller temples and accommodation for the monks. On the south-western side of the site Pelliot found fragments of paper and silk in a temple, as well as wall paintings and cinerary urns....