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Jiandanza Cliff Carvings: A Testament to Ancient Tibetan Buddhist Art

Overview of Jiandanza Cliff Carvings

Location and Altitude: The Jiandanza cliff carvings, situated in Liemai Township, Longzi County, are perched at an altitude of 3550 meters. These carvings, etched onto an east-west facing cliff, stand between 2.8 to 3 meters above the ground.

Description of the Carvings

Group 1: Buddha Statue

  • Location and Style: Positioned at the western end of the cliff, this is a Buddha statue carved in negative lines.
  • Dimensions and Features: The full height of the statue is 1.4 meters, with a seat height of 0.45 meters and a width of 1.2 meters. The Buddha is depicted in monk’s robes and snail hair, seated in a lotus position on a lotus platform. Notably, the statue has both a headlight and backlight.
  • Base Details: The base, or Xumizuo, features carvings of phoenixes and intricate patterns of curly grass.
rock cliff engraving 1
Rock cliff engraving 1

Group 2: Bowl-Shaped Pagoda

  • Location and Design: Located east of Group 1 on the cliff, this carving is a bowl-shaped pagoda with Yin lines.
  • Measurements: The pagoda’s base is 1.2 meters high and 2.2 meters wide. The tower bottle is 0.5 meters high, with the phase wheel “Thirteen days” at 0.5 meters and the sun and moon orb topping at 0.3 meters.

Group 3: Small Buddha Statues

  • Position: Found further east of Group 2 on the cliff.
  • Carving Details: This group consists of five small Buddha statues, each 0.4 meters in height and width, with round headlights and backlights. They are seated in lotus position on lotus platforms.

Additional Engravings

  • Six-Character Mantra: The cliff also features engravings of the “Six-Character Mantra” (ma-ni-yig-drug) and other contents, adding to its religious significance.

Artistic Significance

  • Technique and Style: The stone carving technique showcased in Jiandanza is primitive, representing early characteristics of Tibetan Buddhist sculpture art. These carvings provide valuable insights into the evolution of religious art in the region.

The Jiandanza cliff carvings are a remarkable example of early Tibetan Buddhist art, offering a unique glimpse into the spiritual and cultural history of the region. Through the depiction of Buddha figures and symbolic elements, these carvings continue to serve as a testament to the rich heritage and artistic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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