Go around the world of Buddha statues 26: The beginning of God statue in China 4

仏像を巡って 26: 中国の神像の始まり 4




< 1. a bronze mirror in a burial mound of the late of the 3rd century A.D. Kyoto >

< 1.三角縁神獣鏡、京都、3世紀末の古墳から出土 >

It is embossed with deities and sacred animals of Chinese image.



This time, we look at the forerunner of god statue.

It happened during the beginning of the first century (the Han Dynasty) and the Tang Dynasty.





The forerunner of god statue

In ancient times, exquisite bronze wares were buried as burial goods in the grave of a person of power.

Before long, it was replaced with dead person’s belongings like bronze mirrors and the walls of picture-etched stones or terra-cotta figures.

And, various human images called gods by documents came to be expressed on these burial goods.







< 2. a bronze mirror and picture-etched stones of grave’s walls >

< 2. 銅鏡と画像石 >


The bronze mirror for makeup had begun in around the 5th century B.C., before long it became an important tool of religious services and was buried in large amounts.

This picture-etched stone was line drawing carved on the wall of stone in underground grave, and it was made in large amounts in the era of the Later Han Dynasty.

We can see many figures of glamorous life in life, parade by horses and pedestrians, festival, auspicious image in the grave, and sacred animal, and immortal and supernatural being at the entrance and gate.


Fig. N, O: a bronze mirror of 19.6 cm in diameter in the middle of the Later Han Dynasty, the 2nd century A.D.

Simple patterns were described on the backside of the mirror at first, and such deities and sacred animals were described from the middle of the Later Han Dynasty.

These figures reflected the concepts of immortal and supernatural being, and symbolized the ideal of perpetual youth and longevity.

The backside of Fig. N is a mirror, and Fig. O shows the figure of Fig. N.

Two gods are located in the up and down in the center of the mirror, and other three gods are beside each god.

Blue dragon and white tiger of guardian deity are contraposed on central right and left.


After that, such mirror describing deities and sacred animals became filled with more many gods.


Fig. P: “Seiobo” of picture-etched stones in the 2nd century A.D.

“Seiobo”(The Queen Mother of the West)is a goddess who has a hair ornament on the head, and a god presiding over eternal youth and immortality.


Fig. Q: a picture-etched stone in the Han Dynasty

A Seiobo sitting on the dragon and tiger, 9 foxes, a crow with three feet and other animals are described in it.







図N、O: 神人龍虎画像鏡、青銅製、直径 19.6cm、後漢中期(後2世紀)。












図Q: 漢代の画像石。




Development of the doll of burial goods




< 3. Tang sancais made of clay for burial goods in the 7th-8th century A.D. >

< 3.唐三彩、粘土の素焼人形、副葬品、7―8世紀 >

Fig. D: The people of the Western Regions (west of Central Asia) are molded.

Fig. E: The beautiful woman at the time was plump.

Fig. F: A guardian beast was made with scary look for protecting the grave.


Using doll for burial goods was actively pursued from the soldier figures in the mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor.

In the Tang dynasty, colorful Tang sancais became popular.

Even if there is part deformed, it became considerably realistic.

People prayed for the happiness of the dead person, and the terrible beast was a protector against evil.

The statues buried with dead person were based on faith to the future life.


図D: 西域(中央アジア以西)の人々が造形されている。

図E: 女性像。当時の美人はふくよかであった。

図F: 鎮墓獣。墓を守る為に怖い形相をした人獣が造られた。








Before long, the people came to express the burial goods with the human statue from the symbol of beast to respect a dead person.

However, it was intended to pray for tranquility of dead person, and for perpetual youth and immortality of earthly life.

Tang sancais, this statue was ordinary person, and never an all-around god.


It lacked a little something of the development for all-around God’s appearing.

This continues next time.


















Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: Go around the world of Buddha statues | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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