Flying Peak

                                       Peak Flying-Hangzhou

Peak Flying From Afar is a limestone peak over 209 meters in height. On the peak there are many grotesque rocks among which scattered about 300 sculptures built from the Five Dynasties to the Yuan Dynasty (907-1368), making it the largest group of sculptures in Zhejiang Province. There remain more than 10 sculptures built in the Five Dynasties, all of which are the Three Saint of the West from the Jingtu School (Pure Land School) of Buddhism. They are situated on the top of the peak and at the entrance of the Qinglin Cave (Cave of Green Woods). On the west side of the entrance to the Qinglin Cavern is a niche of sculptures of Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin in Chinese), Amitabha (Mituo in Chinese) and Shizhi, which was donated by the Teng Shaozong in the first year (951) of the Houzhou Dynasty. It is the earliest niche with inscription on sculptures on the Peak Flying From Afar. The three sculptures in the niche all sit on high lotus seats and are decorated with flame line behind the body, which is a good example of typical late Tang Dynasty (618-907) style.

There are about 200 statues made in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), which is the largest in quantity. In the Jinguan Cave (Cave of Golden Light) are the sculptures of Small Arhats and in the Yuru Cave (Cave of Jade Milk) are the Sixth Founders, which are comparatively large in size and made in the fourth year (1026) of Tiansheng reign, with relatively antique style. On the cliff beside the south entrance of Qinglin Cave is an embossment made in the first year (1022) of Qianxin reign and was named the congregation of the Buddhists in Nusena. Its carving is very skillful, the structure is complete and the characters are vivid. On the south side of Lengquan Brook, there lies a sculpture of Maitreya made in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), with thick eyebrows, open eyes and a smile on his face, and seating with his belly naked. The sculpture is surrounded by Eighteen Arhats, built along the hill in harmony and with their respective gestures and expressions.

There are about 100 sculptures made in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), 19 of them have clear inscriptions. The sculptures are exquisitely made and well-preserved. These statues scatter on the south side of the Lengquan Brook and the cliff around the Qinglin Cave and Yuru Cave . The Buddha figures have pointed and twisted bun and wear the shirt slantingly, leaving the right chest and arm naked while the Bodhisattva figures are decorated with jewelry crown, wear thin silk or leave their upper body naked, with comely faces and slim statures. In addition to the traditional style of the Tang and Song Dynasties (618-1279), the sculpting had adopted some artistic characteristics of other ethnic groups such as Tibetan and Mongolian.

The grotto art in Central China had declined since the late Tang Dynasty and the sculptures on the Peak Flying From Afar made in the Five Dynasty, Song Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty filled up for this blankness. In particular, the sculptures made in the Yuan Dynasty, featuring brief carving and smooth lines, occupied an important place in the history of Chinese ancient sculptures.

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