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Buddhist Votive Stele Commissioned by Lu Siming
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.02.28 11:17:58

Period: Northern Qi dynasty(550-577)
Measurements: L.330 cm
Provenance: Acquired upon Government Notice

Being rounded in shape, the top part of the stele is capped by six intertwined serpents, with a niche in the middle, but the Buddhist statues inside were damaged. The niche is flanked by incised bare-footed attendant Bodhisattvas who stand on the lotus pedestals, with halos behind their heads. Beneath the niche is an inscription of six words carved in relief (Lit.“ Above is His Majesty”). The upper part of the stele was incised with figures of the patrons, in total, 32 in three lines. The date of the stele was engraved at the base as “Commissioned by Lu Siming on the Eighth Day of February in the Ninth Year during Tianbao Period of the Great Qi”, some of the words were weathered. The calligraphy of the primary inscription features an elegant, well-proportioned style, the center-tip of the brush were largely employed, which resulted in well-balanced and graceful structure. Some parts of the stele were damaged, such as the missing right side of the head and rear half part of the base which has a tenon structure but is plain without any carvings.

With a large size, exquisite carvings on the head, the incised patrons, and explicit date, the stele is of great academic value to the study on the costume, ethnic traits, and civilian stelae of the Northern Qi period. During the Northern Qi and Northern Zhou periods, in the wake of the relocation of the political center, the styles of the stone stele in the central plains were influenced by the Xianbei culture, most of them displayed the characteristics of “plumpness, robustness”, reflecting the physical beauty of natural and muscular figure of the nomadic people in the north China, and it also laid the foundation for the “rounded and chubby” style of the Buddhist stele in Sui and Tang periods.