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Western Paradise of the Buddha Amitabha
550-577


Northern Qi dynasty
Northern Qi dynasty

Limestone with traces of pigment
H: 159.3 W: 334.5 cm
China

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The Buddha of Infinite Light (Sanskrit, Amitabha), is lord of the Pure Land called the Western Paradise. Devotees believe that absolute faith in Amitabha entitles a person to be reborn in that paradise. In this mural, Amitabha presides over a pond and welcomes newly reborn souls who emerge from within lotus blossoms. This mural is among the earliest known depictions of the Western Paradise in Chinese art. It is from the Southern Xiangtangshan Buddhist cave-temple site, Cave 2. The Xiangtangshan caves were located close to the city of Ye, the capital of the Northern Qi dynasty. Their carving was an imperially sponsored project. A related object in the Freer collection is F1921.1.