A Demon-Suppressing Charm

David Leffman Uncategorized 1 Comment

Here’s a rubbing offering protection against demons taken from a stone tablet in the Chunyang temple at Taiyuan (太原純陽宮), the capital of Shanxi province. Chunyang temple was possibly founded during the thirteenth century, though some sources date it to the Wanli reign (1572–1620). Laid out with nine halls and five stone-flagged courtyards, there are gnarled old trees, arched gateways built …

A warrior’s phoenixes

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Here’s a stone rubbing of a pair of phoenixes amongst peonies, overshadowed by a wutong tree. Peonies are considered the “king of flowers” in China, often paired in art with the phoenix, which usually represents female power. But here, as both male and female phoenix are shown, the peonies simply emphasise the regal nature of the birds. The tree links …

He He Harmony

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Here’s a rubbing from a tablet at the Hanshan Temple in Suzhou of Hanshan (寒山) and Shide (拾得), two Tang-dynasty free thinkers later deified as He He Erxian (和合二仙), the twin Immortals of Harmony. Nothing definite is known about Hanshan and Shide, not even their dates or real names. They lived sometime in the seventh or eighth centuries; Hanshan – …

Taibai Shan Map, Mid-Autumn Festival 1700 太白全圖

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Here’s a map of Tai Bai Shan (3750m), the highest mountain in central China’s Qinlin range, which rises about 100km southwest of Xi’an city. The name comes from the mountain’s summit, which shines white with snow for most of the year; “Tai Bai” is the Chinese for Venus, brightest planet in the sky. The map is a rubbing taken from …

The Guan Yu stone rubbing mystery

David Leffman Uncategorized 3 Comments

Here’s a rubbing taken from an engraved stone tablet – a stele – of Guan Yu, a third-century general later deified as the incarnation of martial righteousness (and here’s a video of how these stone rubbings are made). Guan is riding the legendary Red Hare, a horse which could gallop “1000 miles in a day”, and holds his trademark halberd, …