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Wutaishan Mountain - Updated

June 20, 2017 ·

The Wutaishan Mountain Page has been updated and reformatted.

Tags: updates · Wutaishan

Wutaishan Mountain, China

May 09, 2011 ·

Several hundred photos of Wutaishan Mountain in China have been uploaded to the HAR website. They are not art photos per se but rather snap shots of some of the important stupas, temples, sculpture and sight locations. The mountain with its five terraces (peaks) and the narrative relating to the Mahayana bodhisattva and Tantric figure Manjushri are important in the art of the Himalayas, Tibet, Nepal, China and Mongolia.

In the center of the vast pilgrimage site, in the principal valley is a large white stupa constructed by the famous Nepalese artist Aniko, also responsible for the White Stupa in Beijing. In the recorded literature it also states that Chogyal Pagpa himself assisted in the physical construction of the stupa - all during the time of Kublai Khan in the Yuan dynasty. It would be a huge task to document and photograph all of the major and minor sites at Wutaishan and likely take more than a week to conduct a traditional pilgrimage even with the use of a motor vehicle.

Over the next few months the images of the various sites will be divided into thematic pages accompanied by identifications and explanations wherever possible.

Tags: Architecture · art · China · Manjushri · Wutaishan

Five Manjushri of Wutaishan Mountain

May 09, 2011 ·

Wutaishan Mountain in China is considered special for the Buddhist deity/bodhisattva Manjushri. According to oral history and Chinese literature it was Chogyal Pagpa who first talked about the five different forms of Manjushri that are represented on each of the five peaks (actually terraces): central and four directions. The Five Manjushri forms are not depicted in a consistent manner with iconographic differences appearing between the various paintings be they central figures or minor figures in a composition. This may suggest that there was no original definitive iconographic description for each of the five forms of Manjushri. These forms became more standardized after the publication of the White Beryl astrological text of Desi Sanggye Gyatso in the 17th century.

Tibetan astrology is said to have originated from the teachings of Manjushri while he dwelt on Mount Wutaishan. It is also from here, looking out onto the world, that Manjushri perceived the brilliant light shinning from the relics of Dipamkara Buddha in the lake of what is now known as the Kathmandu Valley. Manjushri used his sword to cleave an opening in the mountains to drain the lake. The relics of Dipamkara are safely contained in the Swayambhunath Stupa.

Later, after the time of Tsongkapa, a Manjushri emanation, and based on the visions of the direct student Khedrubje, five forms of Tsongkapa also became associated with the five peaks. The five forms of Manjushri are unique to Wutaishan while the five forms of Tsongkapa can also be found represented in other compositions and art contexts. (See a painting of Wutaishan depicting both groups of five).

Tags: China · iconography · Wutaishan

Wutaishan Mountain: Unidentified Manjushri Forms

October 30, 2009 ·

There are two examples given below of unidentified forms of Manjushri. These are only two of many unidentified forms found on Wutaishan Mountain.

The first found in the Golden Temple, frequented by Chogyal Pagpa in the 13th century, has one face and two hands and rides atop a lion. What is unique about the form is the right hand holding an utpala stem and the left extended across the left knee with the left leg pendant.

The second form, found in a building in front and below the Golden Temple, is a very large sculpture with eleven faces and one thousand hands, seated in a Western style atop a lion. Is there a Sanskrit or a Tibetan source text for these two unique forms of Manjushri? Are the forms possibly of a Chinese origin and inspiration?


Tags: Manjushri · Wutaishan