AD 582(Sui dynasty)
Total Height 215 cm, Height of stele 170 cm
Width 63 cm, Thickness 58 cm
Originally located at Longjiao Temple, Dawu Cun, Hua County, Henan Province
This stele is carved from greenish-grey limestone, and comprises a head and body. The stele head is carved in the shape of a saddle roof sitting on the lower half of a hip roof; the body constitutes a square pillar. Each face of the stele body contains three Buddha niches. The front features Sakyamuni Buddha, the Medicine Buddha and Vimalakirti. The rear has the Buddha Amitabha, Sakyamuni and Prabhutaratna Buddhas, and the Buddha entering Nirvana. On the left side are the Amitayus Buddha, the Contemplative Bodhisattva and the Bodhisattva Guanyin.
The right features the Buddha Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra and the Buddha Dipamkara. Their faces are full and rounded, with a sense of delicacy and dignity, their venerable facial features appearing Wise and compassionate.
Their clothes are depicted in various styles: with a lowered neck on both sides, with the right shoulder exposed, or with a kasaya robe covering both shoulders. Each Buddha sits on a bejewelled Sumeru throne or on a round lotus throne. The Sumeru throne or on a round lotus throne. The attendant Bodhisattvas wear bejewelled silks hanging from their shoulders, with their upper body exposed. They are adorned with peach-shaped necklaces, and their waists are wrapped in skirts. The disciples wear kasaya robes and stand in an attitude of reverence.
This stele emphasises the overall effect of its statues: the figures, their halos, attire and decorations are succinctly portrayed, and the lintels of their niches are elaborately and beautifully decorated. Numerous names are carved into the sides of the niches: additional names are carved into all the statues within the niches. The following is inscribed atop the stele: ‘The Bodhisattva ruler of Youxiang, the County Governor of Guangping, and the Provincial Governor of Yuzhou, Bing Fajing’.
This small stele was the central pillar in a cave Chapel. Its design is unique, covering a broad range of subjects and depicting numerous figures, all to scale. The highly refined workmanship gives the piece great artistic merit.