The Stele of Buddha Niches at Yique


Shown here are rubbings of the texts on the famous Yique fo kan bei (The stele of Yique Buddha niches), also known as the Stele of Three Niches or the Stele of Three Niches of Longmen. The tablet was erected in the 11th month of the 15th year of the Zhenguan reign (641) during the Tang dynasty, in the Binyang Cave of the Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang, Henan. The texts were composed by Cen Wenben (595−645) and written by famed calligrapher Chu Suiliang (596−658). The horizontal inscription in seal script on the top reads “the stele of the Yique Buddha niches.” Each page of this incomplete copy has 33 lines, each line 51 characters. It was originally erected by the order of Li Tai, Prince Wei (620−53), in honor of his late mother, Empress Changsun. Although referred to as a stele, the stone is actually a rock carving. These rubbings were made during the Ming dynasty. The book presented here, the best-surviving copy, belonged at one stage to Qingsen'ge, the library of He Liangjun (1506−73) before entering the collections of the National Library of China. The Longmen Grottoes were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.

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White on black reversed printing ; 29.6 x 14.4 centimeters in folded sheets of 43 kai size and sheet of postscripts in 4.5 kai size

Last updated: January 3, 2018