Spectacular 800-year-old Buddhist statue of goddess with a thousand hands restored to former glory after eight-year conservation project

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An 800-year-old Buddhist statue will go on public display next month after being restored to its former glory

Guanyin statue carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279)

Known as the ‘Goddess of Mercy’, the sculpture has more than 1,000 arms

After eight-year restoration project, it will be on public display from June 13

Project to repair statue, which started in 2008, cost tens of millions of yuan

Daily Mail
By KHALEDA RAHMAN and EDWARD CHOW FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 05:50 EST, 7 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:18 EST, 7 May 2015

A Buddhist statue that is more than eight hundred years old has been restored to its former glory and will soon be on public display in China after an eight-year conservation project.

Cultural experts gathered in Dazu, near Chongqing, to see the unveiling of the UNESCO-listed Guanyin statue in Baoding Mountain yesterday, the People’s Daily Online reported.

The Dazu Thousand-hand Bodhisattva was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279).

The Category 1 National Relic – of a deity known as the ‘Goddess of Mercy’ – has 1,007 arms and an eye in each palm.

The UNESCO-listed Guanyin statue, also known as the 'Goddess of Mercy', was carved some 800 years ago

The UNESCO-listed Guanyin statue, also known as the ‘Goddess of Mercy’, was carved some 800 years ago

The statue’s bright golden colour lost its lustre over the centuries, cracks appeared in the sculpture and part of one of its many fingers fell off in 2007.

A restoration project, which began in 2008 and cost tens of millions of yuan, is finally complete and the statue will be on display to the public from June 13.

Zhan Zhangfa, the China Academy of Cultural Heritage Project’s team leader, said: ‘This stone statue is a rarity anywhere in the world and rightly deserves its classification of Category 1 National Stone Relic Conservation Project.’

The conservation team used the most advanced X-ray and infra-red technology to analyse the statue and found various factors that have affected its structural integrity.

Experts gathered in Dazu to see the statue's grand unveiling after an eight-year restoration project

Experts gathered in Dazu to see the statue’s grand unveiling after an eight-year restoration project

The Dazu Thousand-hand Bodhisattva was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279)

The Dazu Thousand-hand Bodhisattva was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279)

Over the years, the statue's bright golden colour lost its lustre, cracks appeared in the sculpture and part of one of its many fingers fell off in 2007

Over the years, the statue’s bright golden colour lost its lustre, cracks appeared in the sculpture and part of one of its many fingers fell off in 2007

Researchers found that the intense heat of Chongqing summers, which have a particularly oppressive humidity, which results in the surface of the Guanyin statue being covered in moisture. Continue reading

Fifth volume: Frontier Archaeology sees light of day after nine years

The Express Tribune
By Hidayat Khan
Published: May 6, 2015

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PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa archaeology department’s flagship journal has seen the light of day after a gap of nine years.

The fifth volume of Frontier Archaeology carries eight research papers on the region’s heritage, one on ongoing excavation projects and one which analyses the art and architecture of K-P. The articles have been penned by national and international scholars under the guidance of K-P Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad. “We have ensured the academic value of the journal is not compromised. Pending journals will also be published soon,” said Dr Samad who served as the publication’s editor.

Surveys

The journal includes an archaeological survey of Swabi conducted by scholars Saleh Muhammad Khan, Bakht Muhammad and Fawad Khan.

The survey attempts to document all unearthed immovable structures dating back to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and British periods and explains 123 sites in detail. Some of the Buddhist sites have already been partially excavated while some ancient temples, gurdwaras and bridges have been identified for the first time.

Saleh and Bakht have co-authored another paper on the archaeological sites of Hazara Division, Abbottabad district in particular. The report mentions 210 newly-discovered sites from periods as old as 2CE. Continue reading

‘Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture’ lecture by Dr Charlotte Galloway (Australia)

Sydney and Wollongong
NAN TIEN INSTITUTE

Lecturer: Dr Charlotte Galloway PhD (ANU, Australia), BA (Art History and Curatorship)

Date: Monday 15 June – Friday 19 June
Time: 9 – 5.30 pm daily
Venue: Nan Tien Institute Wollongong Campus
231 Nolan Street, Unanderra (Wollongong) NSW 2526

and

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, Sydney NSW 2000

About the Speaker

Dr Charlotte Galloway is a sessional lecturer for NTI – teaching the subject ‘Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture’. Dr Galloway also lectures in Asian art history and Curatorial Studies at the Australian National University. Previously, she was Asian Art Curator at the National Gallery in Canberra. Her research interests focus on the Buddhist art of Burma, and Southeast Asia more broadly. Recent research includes the relationships between Buddhist texts and image in early Burma, and the transmission of Buddhism through Southeast Asia. The reception and interpretation of Buddhist art in the West since the colonial period is an ongoing research interest. She is interested in the nexus between the two elements of Buddhism – the practice and the academic theory; and the relationship between Buddhist art and imagery, and the changing modern practice of Buddhism.
About the Subject

‘Buddhist Art and Contemporary Culture’ explores the history, development, form and meaning of Buddhist arts and their influence in different cultures and contexts. Topics include the beauty of Chan and Purity Land, Buddhist architecture, spiritual totems of Tibetan Buddhists, calligraphy and stone inscriptions, as well as the influence of Buddhism on art, music and dance in different cultures.

The subject will combine lectures; a guided object analysis session at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; a calligraphy workshop; and expert guide through contemporary Asian art exhibition; talks from professional artists; and more.

Taken as a short course, non-award subject it would be a valuable professional development course for teachers, artists, critics, curators, academics – or even out of pure interest. It can also be taken as a larger Masters, Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate program.

[link]

New Gandhara Site Unearthed in Pakistan

http://www.onislam.net/
By Abdur Razzaq

Sunday, 10 May 2015 00:00

Bhamala site The recent excavation aimed to expose the remaining portions of the site and to reconfirm that it dates back to the 7th century AD.

Bhamala site
The recent excavation aimed to expose the remaining portions of the site and to reconfirm that it dates back to the 7th century AD.

A 14-meter-tall statue depicting the death of Buddha made of kanjur stone was discovered last month during a 12-week excavation at the World Heritage Site of Bhamala in northwest Pakistan.

Bhamala is a historical village in the Taxila valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in northwest Pakistan.

The archeological site, which was erected by the ancient Gandhara Kingdom, is located along the northernmost part of the right bank of Haro River.

Taxila valley was included on the list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1980.

The Bhamala Buddhist complex enjoys an important geographical position in the Taxila valley and is one of very few sites to have a cruciform stupa. Continue reading

Third century BC stupa discovered at ancient Buddhist site

Excavations being carried out at the newly discovered stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. The other pictures are of the discoveries unearthed.  — Dawn

Excavations being carried out at the newly discovered stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. The other pictures are of the discoveries unearthed. — Dawn

Dawn
AMJAD IQBAL — PUBLISHED MAY 09, 2015 06:52AM

Excavations being carried out at the newly discovered stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. The other pictures are of the discoveries unearthed. — Dawn

TAXILA: A stupa dating back to the 3rd Century BC was discovered at the ancient Buddhist site of Badalpur near Taxila during excavations carried out by the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC) of Quaid-i-Azam University.

The stupa measuring 25×25 was discovered on the southern side of the main monastery with a centre water tank at the ancient Buddhist site. Coins, pottery and metal objects have also been excavated from the site by graduate and doctorate students of the TIAC. The students were led by the institute’s director, Professor Dr Ashraf Khan, Assistant Professor Dr Sadid Arif and Coordinator Mohammad Ibrahim.

Know more: Rare discoveries made at Bhamula Stupa site

Professor Dr Ashraf Khan told Dawn that the newly discovered monastery was built in Kushan workmanship style known as ‘diaper masonry’, consisting of thin neatly placed layers of schist interspersed with large blocks of stone as well as semi-ashlar masonry.

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He said the cells of the monastery are plastered with mud mortar, the first of its kind seen in the Taxila Valley.

In response to a query, Dr Khan said the discovery of metal objects showed the craftsmanship of the people living in the area between the first and fourth century.

Dr Khan said six copper coins from the Kushan period have been discovered in the excavations. He said that according to the carbon study of the newly discovered stupa carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison dates it between the 3rd century BC to 1st century AD.

554d2a8f5dae7He said during the last season of the excavation, a good number of antiquities such as a bust of Buddha in stucco, copper coins, bones, charcoal, iron objects and pottery were discovered.

Unveiling the archaeological significance of the site, he said the site was early mentioned by Alexander Cunningham in 1863, the then director, Archaeological Survey of India, during his expedition to Gandhara. Continue reading

Amitabh Bachchan to cast in Indo-China co-production on Buddhist Monk Xuan Zang

http://www.bollywoodmantra.com
Friday, 15th May 2015,10:05

Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan and Chinese actor and Singer Huang Xiaoming will appear together in a mega budget film on the life of Chinese Buddhist Monk Xuan Zang and his 17-year-long journey to India in sixth century.

The mega film with top star cast will be a joint venture between Indian motion picture company Eros International and China Film Group. India and China will enter into a pact during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to the nation.

The shooting for the film is expected to begin on May 25, according to agency reports.

The agreement for the joint production of the film is expected to be signed on May 16 at the business and investment get together in Shanghai, to be addressed by Modi.

The Shanghai Film Group and Eros are also expected to sign an agreement to do more co-productions in the future.

A movie titled ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ featuring Hollywood star Jackie Chan is being made under the joint production.

[link]

India-China Coproduction ‘Monk Xuan Zang’ Announced

china_india_treaty_a_lThe India-China film treaty was signed in New Delhi in September 2014.

by Nyay Bhushan 5/14/2015 11:31pm PDT

China’s state owned production company Chinese Film Corporation (CFC) and leading Indian film entity Eros International have teamed up for Monk Xuang Zang.

The Thursday announcement was timed with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing state visit to China. Last year, India and China signed a coproduction agreement during Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to India.

Based on a real life story, Monk Xuang Zang revolves around the Chinese monk who is credited with bringing Buddhist teachings from India to China. The film will feature Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming as the lead character. The film will be directed by Huo Jianq (A Time To Love). Xiamong made a name for himself in television shows such as The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006) and Shanghai Bund (2007). His film appearances include Huayi Brothers’ titles such as The Sniper, The Message and Ip Man 2.

The Buddhist connection between the two countries has also been highlighted during Modi’s visit. The Indian leader was been given a tour of two significant Buddhist sites in China, the Daxingshan Temple and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, which house important Buddhist relics. The pagoda has preserved rare manuscripts brought from India by Xuan Zang.

The announcement was made in Beijing in the presence CFC head La Peikang, Eros International president, business development Kumar Ahuja and SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China) vice minister Tong Gang along with Xiaoming and Jianq.

Last year, another potentially high-profile India-China coproduction, Kungfu Yoga, was announced with Jackie Chan attached to star. That project brings together Viacom18 Motion Pictures India and China’s Taihe Entertainment Corporation and Shinework Media for the action comedy to be directed by Stanley Tong. The film could reunite Tong and Chan following their earlier outings Rumble in the Bronx, Police Story and The Myth.

Chan was recently quoted by The Hindustan Times newspaper stating he was planning to shoot parts of the film in India: “Hopefully, we will start filming in autumn.”

[link]