Thursday, June 22, 2017

Buddhist Stone Sutras in China: Shandong Province 3: With an essay by Zheng Yan (中國佛教石經:山東省:第三卷)

Suey-Ling, Tsai 蔡穗玲
Yongbo, Wang 王永波


Publication date:
1 June 2017


The third volume of the five-volume series on Buddhist stone sutras in Shandong presents inscriptions on all mountains in Shandong other than those near Lake Dongping 東平湖 (volume 1) and the city of Zoucheng 鄒城 (volume 2), with the exception of Taishan 泰山 (to be covered in volume 4). 

The northernmost entry in this volume is a lost inscription (ca. 526) once situated among the sculptures at Yellow Stone Cliff 黄石崖, south of Jinan 濟南. Zheng Yan 鄭岩 analyzes the art historical significance of this site. Inscriptions under the open sky occur elsewhere at Mount Culai 徂徕 (dated 570), Mount Fenghuang 鳳凰山 (ca. 563 and 921), Mount Shuiniu 水牛山 (ca. 560), Mount Tao 陶山 (second half, 6th c.), and Mount Long 龍山 (second half, 6th c.), this last site discovered only in 2008. Lost inscriptions on Mounts Jian 尖山 (dated 575), Yang 陽山 (second half, 6th c.), and Ziyang (second half, 6th c.; here identified for the first time) have been reconstructed based on extant rubbings, epigraphic literature, and archaeological evidence. While “Perfection of Wisdom” now emerges as the key doctrinal concept in the Shandong mountains, the names of Buddhas, of which “Buddha King of Great Emptiness” is especially conspicuous, engender visions of cosmic time and space.

All engravings are fully documented with photographs and rubbings; they are transcribed, translated into English, and analyzed. This research has been conducted under the auspices of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften by an international team led by Lothar Ledderose and supported by the cultural authorities in China. The volumes, bilingual in Chinese and English, address a wide audience.

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