Dedicatory Inscription by […] Xiong
Dedicatory Inscription by […] Xiong
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Dedicatory Inscription by […] Xiong

The Northern and Southern dynasties was a period when Buddhism flourished.  Despite of two persecutions against Buddhism, many stone monuments from the Northern dynasties were kept and passed down.  However, due to the lack of natural stone supply, stone relics from the Southern dynasties were rather scarce in quantity, despite Buddhism was also popular in the South at that time and no persecution against Buddhism took place there.  Dating back to the Liu Song dynasty, this in indeed a precious artifact.

The front side of the stele depicts an incense burner and Amitabha Buddha in the middle and two lions guarding the sides, also symbolizing that Buddha’s teachings are as powerful as the roars of lions.  The dedicatory inscriptions were carved at the right-hand bottom, extending to the back of the stele.  On the left-hand side of the stele there is an image of the devotee and his families praying in Anjali Mudra ( pressing the palms of the hands together) position.  The last name of the devotee, whose first name is Xiong, is now unidentifiable.  It is most likely that he had built this statue of Amitabha Buddha in the hope of a rebirth in the Western Pure Land for himself and his families.  This is a very uncommon piece of dedicatory inscriptions as no reference to mundane matters was made but a wish of rebirth in the Pure Land, showing a strong belief in the Western Pure Land of the devotee. 
Item No.
92.2x55 cm
Unearthed in Chengdu, Sichuan; currently stored at the Palace Museum, Beijing

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