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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:54 pm 
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I would like to draw some attention to the following piece of artwork from Dunhuang. It is "Tejaprabhā Buddha and the Five Planets" from Qianning 乾寧四年 (897 CE) 熾盛光佛并五星圖 by Zhang Huai Xing 張淮興. The planets as depicted here are largely identical to what is described in the astrological text the Brahma Horanavagraha 梵天火羅九曜. I incidentally wrote a blog post about all this here. Here's the painting:

Image

Now what's really interesting about this is how it reflects the astrology of the Brahma Horanavagraha, which also introduces the Indian "shadow planets" of Rāhu and Ketu (there are nine graha or luminaries are the five visible planets, sun, moon and the two shadow planets), though they're not depicted here (possibly due to damage or they might have been omitted).

This is a really beautiful example of Indian-Chinese syncretism during the Tang Dynasty.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:01 pm 
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While I'm not as versed in the intricacies of cosmology as you are, what struck me is the design principles used in the painting.

The visual flow is quite perfect. It's exactly how we would do it today.

While it's common to see good visual flow and other design principles used in classical western art, it's kindof striking to see them used in the Chinese.

It is of course a universal principle, but it just kindof stuck me how interesting it is that something like that would be yet another example of a common way of doing things shared across many different time periods and cultures.

I doubt the Tang artist had ever met Italian Renaissance painters for instance.

These same principles are taught in art school today.

It's a very interesting work.

Thank you for sharing it Huseng.

In Gassho,

Sara H.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:55 pm 
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Here's another bit I discovered. It is an astrological table with the twelve Hellenic Zodiac signs and associated planets and elements.

Image


It is contained in a text Sūtra on Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva and the Sage's Teaching on Auspicious and Inauspicious Times, Days, Good and Evil Constellations and Luminaries 文殊師利菩薩及諸仙所說吉凶時日善惡宿曜經, translated by Amoghavajra in 759. This seems to have been a popular work at the time and it was brought to Japan as well where it was used by more esoteric-inclined monks.

I wrote about it briefly here:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2013/02/ ... -east.html

Curiously it provides optimal professions for each of the signs:


師子
Leo
Army


Virgo
Palace quarters


Libra
Storehouse


Scorpio
Nursing


Sagittarius
Greater Minister / Commander

磨竭
Capricorn
Executions


Aquarius
College


Pisces
Government official


Aries
Kitchen


Taurus
Stablemaster

夫妻
Gemini
Gatekeeper


Cancer
Punishment litigator

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