Ruiyao Gong Humanities and Social Science
Buddhist Statues and Transformation Images: The Peacock King at Dazu
The Dazu Rock Carving is the only Buddhist cave site in China representing the development of Buddhist teachings during the Song dynasty (960- 1279). My research mainly investigates the Buddhist statues of Dazu site, with a special focus on Mahamayuri Vidyaraja, or the Great Peacock King at Baodingshan, Dazu. The Great Peacock King, a deity who can cure all evils in Esoteric Buddhism and who always rides on a peacock, is rarely depicted in other Buddhist caves. Dazu has three statues of him, however, at Baodingshan, Northern Mountain and Shimen Mountain. The adjacent site, Anyue, has another one. More importantly, these four iconic images are extremely similar, with the exception of differences in transformation images (bianxiang), the narrative images of exemplary stories derived from Buddhist scripture at the rear of each statue. The similarity of formal language among these Great Peacock King statues and the diversity to their associated transformation images is at the heart of my research interests. When the statues of the Great Peacock King combines with narrative images at background as an ensemble, do they convey a new, integral meaning with each combination?