Feilai Feng

Feilai Feng 飛來峰

Feilai Feng (Mt. Feilai; Chin.: 飛來峰) is located in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, which was the capital of the Southern Song (Chin.: 南宋; 1127-1279). There are sculptures at the caves on the walls outside the Qinglin Dong (Cave Qinglin: Chin.: 清林洞) at Feilai Feng. These sculptures were carved with inscriptions around 1292, and are known for the Tibetan Buddhist influences on them. It is evident that there were numbers of tantric divinities among the sculptures that were foreign to the Chinese- ruled Southern Song. A Tibetan Buddhist monk, Yang Lianzhenjia, whose ethnicity still remains ambiguous, was the chief donor. Yang Lianzhenjia was notorious in China for his crimes. For instance, he desecrated the Song imperial tombs in 101 different places near Shaoxi (Chin.: 紹興), Zhejiang Province and destroyed former Song palaces and altars while he served as Director of Priests for the Jiangnan (Chin.: 江南) region (Jiangnan shijiao zongtong; Chin.: 江南釋教總統), consequently, his misdeed antagonized both laymen and Chinese Buddhist monks in Jiangnan in 1278. The sculptures reveal that Hangzhou, which has been considered as a significant center of Chinese culture, appeared as an active Tibetan Buddhist centre around the year 1300. For an image that is clearly tantric in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition (holding a double-vajra and bell), see this link.

Heather Karmay, Early Sino-Tibetan Art, Aris and Phillips, 1975; Herbert Franke, “Tibetans in Yuan China” China among equals: the Middle Kinndom and its neighbors, 10th-14th centuries, UC.P. 1983

Entry by Lan Wu, 2/02/07


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