Thousand year old stone summoned beasts at the Phat Tich temple
Phat Tich Pagoda, also known as Van Phuc Pagoda, is located on the southern slope of Phat Tich mountain, Tien Du district, Bac Ninh. According to ancient documents, the pagoda was built in the 4th Long Thuy Thai Binh year (1057). In the pagoda, there is the largest stone statue of the Ly Dynasty in Vietnam.
In the pagoda, many valuable Ly dynasties are preserved. Right on the second step, there are 10 stone animal statues, including lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and horses. Each type of two, lying on a lotus pedestal carved by large blocks of stone.
The 10 stone summoned beasts are divided into 2 rows, placed symmetrically in front of the Three Jewels. According to the epitaph “Van Phuc great meditation on self-compassion” built in 1686 about the construction of the Buddhist Tich Pagoda, these statues were carved at the same time as the temple was built. On the stele, there is an inscription: “The palace was wide, big, bright and big.
The thousand-year-old stone animals are delicately carved, very characteristic sculpture for the artistic style of the Ly Dynasty. In the picture is the lion, this pair of summoned beasts are placed in the first position bearing the symbol of the power to protect the Dharma, often placed on either side of the entrance to the temple.
All summoned beasts are in the state of kneeling on the lotus. In 1952, the French colonialists occupied Phat Tich pagoda completely destroyed the temple’s architecture, affecting 10 summoned beasts as well. The elephant statue to the right of the Three Jewels has lost its tusks and trunks. Elephants are considered symbols of physical and mental strength, as well as responsibility and honesty.
The biggest damage was the buffalo statue on the left side of the Three Jewels that lost its horn and face.
The buffalo statue on the right is still quite intact, but losing its tail, ears, and horn makes identification difficult. In Buddhism, buffalo has the meaning of natural and free liberation.
The pair of horses also lost their tail and ears, in the picture is the rock horse to the right of the Three Jewels. Horses are said to represent energy and effort in the practice of Dharma, which are the means of movement of the mind.
The horse was left with an intact body, but also lost ears, nose and mouth.
The stone lion to the right of the Three Jewels has also been restored due to the damage.
Elephants and rhinos have heads facing forward, while buffalo and horse heads are tilted to one side. The body of the rhino is touched with a circular scale, evenly like a fish scale. The rhino is a symbol for those who practice persevering until the day of liberation.
In the picture is Venerable Thich Giac Tinh next to the horse image. The horse is a symbol of energy and effort in the practice of Dharma, the means of movement of the mind.
Each summoned beast is placed on a stone pedestal 1.7m long, 0.8m wide and 0.36m high. The top of the stone pedestal is embossed with stylized lotus petals.
The set of ancient summoned beasts has a fairly uniform height, about 1.2m. Length from 1.5-1.8m, shaped in prostrate posture with strong and lively lines.
The system of stone summoned beasts combined with many ancient stone sculptures of the Ly period such as wall tiles, fighting … on which carved Diamonds, Dharma protectors, Dieu gods, musicians, dancers etc … have created ancient, unique and rare features for Phat Tich Pagoda, which has been recognized as a special national monument of Vietnam. Follow Dân trí