The statues of Buddha in Binyang cave of Northern Wei Dynasty in Longmen Grottoes

In 499 ad, Emperor Xiaowen of Wei died and Emperor Xuanwu of Wei succeeded him. At the beginning of Jingming Dynasty, Emperor Xuanwu ordered to imitate Yungang Grottoes and yique to build a grotto for Emperor Xiaowen and Empress Dowager Wenzhao respectively, and yongpingzhong built a grotto for emperor Xuanwu, which is now the three Binyang Grottoes in Longmen. From the third hole project to the middle section of Zhengguang four years (523), only the middle hole was completed. The cave is the representative of the Grottoes in the late Northern Wei Dynasty. Later, a cave was added in the north and south of Binyang cave, and Binyang cave became Binyang middle cave. According to the book of Wei · Shi Lao Zhi, “at the beginning of Jingming Dynasty, Qiu Qing, the chief commander of Shizong imperial edict, was reorganized.

The quasi generation of jinglingyan Temple Grottoes was located in yique mountain, Luonan. It was the second grottoes of emperor Wenzhao, Empress Dowager of Gaozu. In yongpingzhong (508-512), Zhongyin Liu tengzo was the first to build caves for Shizong, and every one was three. “In yongpingzhong (508-512), Zhongyin Liu tengzo was the first to build caves for Shizong, and every one was three Many scholars have pointed out that this is the three Binyang caves in Longmen Grottoes, among which Binyang middle cave and Binyang South cave were built by Emperor Xiaowen and empress Wenzhao respectively, while the North cave was built by Emperor Xuanwu.

In addition to the main Buddha statue, there are four relief images on the wall of Binyang middle cave, which are wonderful and beautiful. In particular, the relief on the third floor depicts the supporting lines of Emperor Xiaowen and empress Wenzhao of the Northern Wei Dynasty. The Northern Wei Dynasty started to dig Grottoes in Yungang, Datong, basically in Indian style. When it came to Luoyang, it clearly emphasized the aesthetic of Chinese lines. From the overall view of Binyang cave, the sculpture is complete and magnificent. There is no blank on the wall of the grottoes.

They are all filled with sculptures and covered with bright colors. They are indeed as brilliant as the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang. This relief is not only the best stone carving in the Northern Wei Dynasty, but also the best stone carving art in China, that is, the famous “Buddha worship map of emperor and empress”. Unfortunately, the map has been completed in 1935 It was stolen to foreign countries in, because the relief was chiseled down one by one when it was stolen. For various reasons, the emperor and empress Buddha worship map, which finally caused the relief fragments, was divided into two parts. The part of the emperor Buddha worship was collected in the Metropolitan Art Museum of New York, the United States, and the part of the queen Buddha worship was collected in the Nelson Art Museum of Kansas. Emperor Xiaowen and empress Xiaowen have been on their own since then.

As for the Buddha worship map of the emperor and Empress of Binyang cave, they are both 2 meters high and 4 meters wide. The Buddha worship map in Longmen Grottoes is the most beautiful and unusual inlay in terms of both breadth and production. This relief work shows secular content and enjoys a very prominent artistic atmosphere in visual experience. The Buddha worship of Emperor Xiaowen of Wei Dynasty is located in the north side of the cave gate arch and the east end of the north wall. The Buddha worship of empress Wenzhao is located in the south side of the cave gate arch and the east end of the south wall. The traditional Chinese long scroll composition is adopted in the Buddha worship. Although there are many characters in the picture, the main and secondary are clear, arranged orderly, complicated and not disordered. Wearing the style of “commendatory clothing and erudite belt” in the Southern Dynasty, the supporters were generous and quiet, which fully showed the royal family’s devotion to Buddhism in the Northern Wei Dynasty.

The two relief sculptures of the supporter are all in the prominent positions on both sides of the cave door, even larger than the ten God kings in the lower layer (there are five God kings in the lower layer of the two walls beside), and larger than the images of the story of the Nativity in the upper layer, which can be seen that the status of the Buddha worship map is deliberately emphasized. It is obvious that the images of praising people, showing bones and clear images, as well as the cultural connotation and the sense of etiquette and order implied in the images are derived from the patterns of Buddha worship in the Southern Dynasties. The two pictures of Buddha worship are of strict composition.

Emperor Xiaowen and empress Wenzhao are in the middle of the picture respectively, followed by their attendants, forming the opposite line of Buddha worship between the north and the south. The former is facing south, and the two waiters take it as a front guide. Emperor Xiaowen wears a crown and a Diao, and holds a fuming stove. He is calm and calm. A boy in a bun adds fragrance, and the two waiters help him. Next to him are two waiters, who hold Yu Bao, and the middle waiters, who hold a treasure cover and tie it against the Soviet Union. More than ten courtiers followed the Emperor Xiaowen closely, and the line extended to the north, one holding a lotus. To the north of the latter, Empress Dowager Wenzhao is decorated with a gorgeous crown. On the opposite side is a waitress holding a smoke stove. On the side is a waitress holding a lotus. Behind her are more than ten waitresses. At the end of the line, extending to the south wall, there were two waitresses holding the plums. Although the figures in the two Buddhist rituals are of complex levels, they are in harmony with each other. They are static in motion and full of solemn atmosphere.

One of the details is worthy of our attention: on the left side of Emperor Xiaowen, there is a man holding a bowl to give to Emperor Xiaowen. Emperor Xiaowen covers his hand on it to pick up something. In the south side of the Buddha worship map of empress Wenzhao, the fragrance of empress Wenzhao Gao is in the shape of a thin column, so it is speculated that what Emperor Xiaowen chose in the Buddha worship map is not the fragrance. Some people also think that this work is likely to show the scene of Emperor Xiaowen picking flowers and scattering flowers in front of Buddha. In the historical records of Wei Shu, Shi Lao Zhi and Luoyang Jialan Ji, there were many records of “Sanhua ceremony” recorded by the emperor of the Northern Wei Dynasty.

Hua should be used to describe the more noble form of Buddha ceremony that only the emperor and his concubines can make, which is consistent with the identity and status of Xiaowen emperor and the characteristics of Buddhist ceremony at that time. According to Mr. Sugi, the picture of Buddha worship depicts the scene of the annual statue ceremony on April 8. In the carvings, the characteristics of Emperor Xiaowen’s crown and clothes are: wearing a crown and a Diao, the crown plate is placed on the middle curtain, and the Diao is hung. According to the historical records, there should be 12 diaos on the emperor’s crown, but they are not prominent here. The hat has a tassel belt, a leather belt tied to the waist, and the size of the silk belt hanging down. In front of it, there is a covering knee, a wide sleeve, a long flap on the ground, and the foot pedals Wat’s head, and in front of it, there is a covering knee, a wide sleeve, a long flap on the ground, and a Wat’s head.

Through the emperor’s clothes and ornaments, it shows that the emperor’s worship of Buddha occupies a very important position both in the religious sense and in the political life of the country. At the same time, the artist’s skillful handling of the different relationships between the characters reflects the serious state of activities, which to a certain extent reflects the spiritual state of the emperors and nobles in religious activities at that time – pretending to be devout. In the feudal society of the Northern Wei Dynasty, where politics and religion were unified and the emperor and Buddha were equated, it was not so much to praise the piety to Buddha as to publicize the loyalty to the feudal emperor. This is the essence of Buddhism advocated by the ruling class. In order to express this theme perfectly, the author has made great efforts in the characterization of characters, the decoration of composition and the expressiveness of lines. In the two pictures of Buddha worship in Binyang cave, the creator adopts the horizontal composition. In addition to using lines to express the changes in the neat pleats and skirts, he also uses lines to emphasize the figure’s body contour, especially the handling of the cloth with the clothes lines. It is not only smooth and free, but also dense and exquisite, producing the artistic effect of relief, which not only embodies the life atmosphere of the emperor in the grand ceremony, but also has the quiet atmosphere Mood, formed a pious and serious atmosphere, and with the delicate and languid posture of the palace ladies, including the face expression of looking if smiling, formed a more subtle contrast.

From the perspective of carving techniques, the image of circular sculpture still uses the straight knife method more, while the image of relief sculpture has begun to use the circular knife, becoming thin, flat and shallow, and the round light and shadow have not been found. The use of lines in sculpture has the charm of the Han Dynasty’s brick portraits seeking shape by lines. It is the unique style of China’s sculpture art, which shows the integration of traditional Chinese culture and foreign Buddhist art, and also the characteristics of Oriental Art represented by China.

From the perspective of the artistic style of Binyang cave, the relief in the figure of Buddha worship is exquisite and subtle, and the contrast and change of artistic techniques make the size and subject complement each other and reflect each other. On the one hand, it inherits the general large-scale, concise and refined style of the statues of five caves in tanyao, Yungang, and pays attention to the outline, so as to form the overall sense of sculpture and the remarkable feature of strong sense of volume; on the other hand, it initiates the trend of mellow, Fuller, more realistic and gradually secularized statues in Sui and Tang Dynasties. In other words, it is a prominent sign of the gradual nationalization and secularization of Chinese Buddhist sculpture art.

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