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Stone coffin-shaped sarira container

Tang Dynasty

Height: 45.6cm
Unearthed at pagoda site of Shengguo Temple in Lingtai County, Gansu Province in 1957
Preserved in Museum of Lingtai County
This stone coffin-shaped sarira container carved out of fine gray sandstone is in a type of horizontal trapezoidal containing coffin and coffin body which are interlocked by snap button and in color of red, green, blue, white, gold and etc.
On the coffin, there are reclining lotus carved all around, rectangular square in the middle and dragons in the very center. In the front side of the coffin there is a carved karura guardian deity who is spreading his wings and going to fly.
On the coffin body, there are reclining lotus carved all around and double front doors on which two guardian kings respectively are embossed .
On the left side of the coffin body the picture of welcoming the Buddha is ornamented of which the Sakyamuni Buddha siting cross-legged on the lucky clouds with all welcomers dancing lightly and playing melodious heaven music, and all these images create a warm and cheerful atmosphere.
On the right side the image of nirvana of Buddha Sakyamuni is arranged in which the Buddha Sakyamuni surrounded by Goddess, disciples, servants and flying apsaras, etc lies on his side on the bier while all of them are in great agony.
The base part of the coffin body is a pedestal decorated with two-layer reclining lotus belt which seems very solemn. On the coffin,various characters, god, beast, flowers are carved in good order, they are in different shapes and unique. The two grand scenes - Nirvana of Buddha and Welcoming Buddha are skillfully made which focus on the depiction of the posture and expression of the characters and rendering of the atmosphere giving the viewer an immersive feeling.
It is worth mentioning that on the front ,left and right side of the coffin , dragon, white tiger, Suzaku are respectively carved which in accordance with the four spiritual sacred beast (basalt is omitted ) in Chinese traditional decoration and therefore shows once again the integration of Buddhist culture and Chinese culture.


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