Longmen Grottoes statues of ancient Yang cave in Northern Wei Dynasty

Guyang cave is located in the south of the western mountain of Longmen. It is the earliest one among the Longmen Grottoes. It has a grand scale, a depth of about 13.5m, a width of 6.9, and a height of 11.1m. It is also the most colorful and colorful art treasure house in Longmen Grottoes. At the beginning, Guyang cave was known as the grotto temple. In the fifth volume of the record of Luoyang Jialan, “there are grotto temples and Lingyan temples at the entrance to the south of Beijing.” There are grottoes and Lingyan temples. ” ① (1) in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, it was changed to the name of “Guyang”. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, some Taoists used clay to paint the image of Sakyamuni, which was changed to the image of Supreme Lord Lao Jun, so it was renamed “Laojun cave”. Now the appellation of ancient Yangdong in Ming Dynasty has been restored.

Guyang cave is the most concentrated grotto where the royal nobles made a wish to do Buddhism after the capital was moved to the Northern Wei Dynasty, There are more than 1000 statues made by Wang Yuanxiang (the younger brother of Emperor Xiaowen) of Beihai, his mother, Gao Taifei, Yuanyou (the grandson of emperor Wencheng, the cousin of Emperor Xiaowen), yuanxie (the great grandson of emperor Taiwu, the heart of Emperor Xiaowen), Hou Taifei (the second aunt of Emperor Xiaowen), the concubine of Helan Khan, the king of Guangchuan, Yang Dayan (the famous general of Emperor Xiaowen), etc. All these reflect the prevailing custom of Buddhism in the feudal society of the Northern Wei Dynasty. Among them, the statue niches of Hou Taifei for Guangchuan wangyuanlue and Qijun wangyuanyou did not provide for human figures, while the statue niches of Anding wangyuanxie and Beihai WANGYUANXIANG opened a new form of supporting human figures in the late Northern Wei Dynasty. Wang Yuanxiang was the seventh son of Xian Wendi, the half brother of Xiao Wendi. He had received Confucian education since he was a child under the urging of the Empress Dowager of civilization. Yuan Xiang was valued by Emperor Xiaowen, and often followed Emperor Xiaowen’s conscription. He was the supporter and responder of a series of reform measures of Emperor Xiaowen, and was also keen on Buddhist merit.

In October of the 22nd year of Taihe reign (498), on the base of Wang Yuanxiang’s newly carved statue niche in Beihai, a secular painting was refreshing, and a new style appeared for the image of the supporter: under the guidance of the monks, the supporter dressed in Han style commendatory clothing, accompanied by the waiter holding an umbrella fan guard of honor behind him, walked slowly to the scene of worshiping the Buddha. This form is different from any previous image of a supporter. In the past, the image of a supporter, such as weichi niche, Yifu niche and Huicheng niche, was just hiding in a hidden corner to pray. The innovation of Yuanxiang niche is that the image of a supporter is no longer just an ornament and accessory of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, but gradually has independent significance, commemorative nature and function of flaunting. Strictly speaking, the main character is the supporter, while the servant is not. But such “creativity” also makes the design of Royal Grottoes not only break through in form, but also bring ideological liberation.

On the left side of the sculpture niche, the inscription of the detailed sculpture niche in Yuan Dynasty records the contents of Emperor Xiaowen’s southern expedition to Xiaoqi, concubine Gao Taifei’s vow in Yichuan, and the detailed inscription of the stone in Yuan Dynasty. The picture of supporting travel is located at the base of the niche. On the left is a man, 12 people in total. The first three people are supporting bhikkhus. The fourth one is a tall, caged and crowned supporter. Later, there are three followers who support him with clothes, hands holding Yu Bao and playing Huagai. Then there are five statues of the patron, with a list beside them, which can clearly identify the meaning of “Yuanhao” and “Yuanbao”. There are also 12 female providers on the right side, and the first three are bhikuni. The titles of the list clearly include bhikuni Minghui and bhikuni Fazhen. The fourth is the female provider in coronal clothes, with a female attendant who is fighting for her and supporting her. The last four are also the secondary providers. All the characters are thin and long, and they wear typical Han people’s commendatory clothing. This is the travel image commonly known as “Buddha worship map”. It may be due to the limitation of hierarchy. This new type of image of the patron has not been adopted in aristocratic statues.

Four years later, it was still related to Yuanxiang. In the niches where the monks in his family were born as Emperor Xiaowen and the mother and son of Beihai king, the form of Buddha worship was inherited and developed. The inscriptions of statues are no longer placed on one side, but between the providers, with the providers on both sides facing the inscriptions. The relationship between the inscriptions and the niches is related to the form of inscriptions erected in front of the grottoes since the second period of Yungang in the Northern Wei Dynasty, which not only gives people a three-dimensional imagination of space, but also means the combination of traditional calligraphy and painting on the plane. In the inscription of the statue, the shrine is called “the beginning of the construction of the Dharma and the end of the Wang family”. It can be seen that as a part of the shrine image, the Buddha worship map has also been recognized and appreciated by the royal family. In 507 A.D., when the statues of King yuanxie of Anding appeared again, the designers in the early period of Jingming Dynasty began to plan and build Binyang cave, and absorbed the “Buddha worship map” as an important theme of the Royal grottoes. In order to explore the source of materials and forms of “Buddha worship map”, it is not difficult for us to find traces in the “Luoshen Fu map” handed down to Gu Kaizhi in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. In the painting of Ode to the God of Luo, there are a group of traveling statues of kings, which show the story of Cao Zhi, King Chen Liu of the Three Kingdoms, meeting the goddess of Luoshui and falling in love with her on the way back from the capital. The most striking scene in the picture is the first group of characters: Cao Zhi, who travels by the Luoshui River, is well-known for his clothes, his chest is outstretched, his arms are outstretched, and he supports the waiters on both sides. Then there are also the waiters with umbrella covers, surrounded by the waiters with high cages and crowns. Gu Kaizhi’s painting has far-reaching influence in the history of painting, so that there are many copies in later generations. His painting, which is created by the great master of a generation, including the unique figure modeling and composition, will inevitably have a great impact on the painting style of the same era and later. With a profound Confucian education background, Yuanxiang has a great affinity for the Han nationality culture in the South during the process of following Emperor Xiaowen’s South expedition. It is not impossible for Yuanxiang to consciously introduce Gu Kaizhi’s painting theme and style into the northern cave niche art. Yuanxiang’s Shrine ritual and Buddhist map provide strong evidence for us to understand the spread and exchange of North and South culture.

According to the records of the book of Wei and the northern history, it can be known that Wang yuanxie and Wang Yuanxiang of Beihai were nobles of the Xianbei region of Tuoba in the Northern Wei Dynasty. As a relic of cultural life of Xianbei aristocracy at that time, the costumes of the characters in the above-mentioned works of art in Longmen Grottoes undoubtedly show that after the king Tuoba moved his capital to Luoyang, his costume standard has adopted the traditional style of the Han nationality. Its appearance should be related to the 18th year of Taihe (494) The policy of Sinicization carried out by the Northern Wei Dynasty in a series of aspects, such as servitude and language, has a close relationship since. Taking the service system as an example, since the imperial edict of “leather clothing system” in December of the 18th year of Taihe (494), the change of upper and lower clothing in Luodu has become popular. At that time, Emperor Xiaowen of Wei, in addition to military affairs, once “charged the officials who stayed in Beijing with saying: yesterday, I saw that women’s clothes were still small sleeves with collars. Although I have not been in Dongshan for three years, since I am away from the cold and summer, why do you disobey the imperial edict? ” Although it was not three years ago, the eastern mountain was far away from the heat and cold. Why did you disobey the imperial edict? ” It can be seen that the two kinds of costumes of Hu and Han still coexist in the late period of Xiaowen. This can be fully proved from the typical shape of the Buddha worship map of Longmen Grottoes.

There are many relief Buddha statues in Guyang cave. The most prominent ones are the Buddhist statues on both sides of the southern wall of the bhikkhu, the clans of the Northern Wei Dynasty, Beihai Wang Yuan Fu Rong and Yuan Hao Yi, Yuan Baoyi and their families, respectively, under the guidance of bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni, as well as the Buddhist statues on both sides of the king yuan Xie. However, the relief in the Buddhist map between the two niches on the lower part of the north wall is the most valuable in art. This is a picture of noble women’s Buddha worship guided by Bhikkhuni in front. The picture is 21 cm high and 53 cm long. Following Bhikkhuni in cassock are two noble women in long skirts and on the ground. They hold the stove in front and carry the sachet in the back. On the back side is the double bun maid with both hands holding the treasure cover, and on the back side is the double bun maid with nine people making arched hands. All of them are wearing long skirts and walking in a row of fish. Seen from the master-slave relationship of the layout and composition of the whole relief picture and the environmental atmosphere set off by the picture, the noble women seem to move slowly with a mysterious religious music rhythm and melody, reverently and solemnly, shrouded in a strong religious color. For the characters depicted above, the author strictly follows the feudal hierarchy of the Lord and the subordinate. The housewife was tall and pretended to be in a pose; the servant was thin and restrained, while the one who lifted the treasure was smaller. In addition to obeying the principle of the Lord’s respect and inferiority, it also shows the meaning of the relationship between the far and the near. The perspective of the near, the big and the small is cleverly and reasonably used here. There are no other props on the screen, which completely depend on the size, distance and density of the characters to form a typical overall environment, making the screen appear harmonious, concise and complete. It is a rare relief work of Buddha worship.

In terms of carving techniques, besides the high and low convexity and concavity of the statue itself to shape the body and show the outstanding pleats, it is also supplemented by the Yin line carving to carve the clothes lines with little fluctuation. This artistic technique originated from the traditional stone carvings of Han Dynasty in China, but it has developed and innovated. Its expressive power is more abundant, more mature and perfect. Unfortunately, the image of this excellent character is slightly damaged in some parts.

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