Mid Tang Dynasty statues discovered in Shanxi
The Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology announced on Dec 22 that a medium-sized group of statues from the mid Tang Dynasty (618-907) were discovered at the Qianfo Cliff Statue and Cave Front Site in Huozhou, Shanxi province.
The site, located on the east bank of the Fenhe River, around 7 kilometers southwest of Huozhou, extends 30 meters and is about 11 meters above the ground at its highest. All the statues were made during the reign of emperors Gaozong (628-683) and Wu Zetian (624-705).
Through joint excavations by Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Peking University, some 300 statues in more than 70 niches were discovered.
The statues are mostly of Buddha accompanied by two Bodhisattvas, or one Buddha accompanied by two Bodhisattvas and two disciples.
In addition, nearly 20 inscriptions of chronicles, place names, people's names and official names were found at the site.
The new discoveries will provide important materials for studying the evolution of statue styles and types during the transition from the prosperous Tang to the middle and late stages, and are of great value to the research of the historical geography and military system of the Tang Dynasty.