The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan are rich in textual content. Many of the caves have engraved inscriptions that include texts from Buddhist scriptures, visitor’s records, and dedicatory inscriptions that document the making of images of Buddhist divinities by donor-worshippers. Unlike the sculptures that are now mostly damaged or removed, the inscriptions are still largely preserved at the two main Northern and Southern groups of caves and a third site at Shuiyusi. Of particular importance, the Cave of the Engraved Scriptures, has entire Buddhist sutras carved between the years of 568 and 572, as recorded in the stele of Northern Qi official Tang Yong.
The engravings and relief carvings are displayed as photographs of rubbings produced with ink on paper. The Center for the Art of East Asia has acquired them through the generosity of Mr. Zhang Lintang, former Director of the Office for Preservation and Managment of the Xiangtangshan Caves, who produced the rubbings and the photographs. These are accompanied by captions in Chinese and English and references to their publication.
We are confident that this will be an import resource for further study of Xiangtangshan, the practice of Buddhism in the Northern Qi period, and for research on historical versions of the Chinese Buddhist scriptures.
The website was created by Charles Crable and Katherine Tsiang with the assistance of Zhiyan Yang and Zhenru Zhou.
We welcome your feedback, questions, and comments.