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A Preliminary Study of the Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara Sutra Painting in Cave 14, the Bezeklik Grottoes
Chen Aifeng ( Academia Turfanica )
Cave 14 in the Bezeklik Grottoes was built in the Yuan Dynasty during the period of Uighur rule, which began in the 13th century and lasted until to the latter half of the 14th century. On the front right side of the cave wall there is residue from a rectangular pedestal, the statue pedestal above has been destroyed. The residue of a background halo shaped of petals remains on the wall. The left and right sides of the painted murals are relatively dilapidated. Professor Glünwedel has identified images of the Sunlight Bodhisattva, candraprabha, six-armed Avalokitesvara, flying arhats, and etc. Screen 12 was cut from the side of the wall in a piece 15-30 cm wide, with a height of about 20-40 centimeters. The pieces were cut close to the ground. All images were cut away from a side wall near the door, with the same layout. According to Chinese language titles these images depicted the "Shiwu shansheng(十五善生)" and "Shiwu Esi(十五恶死)", the contents of Indian monk Jiafandamo (伽梵达摩)translated into Chinese as "Qianshou qianyan guanshiyin pusa guangda yuanman wuai dabeixin tuoluonijing(千手千眼观世音菩萨广大圆满无碍大悲心陀罗尼经)" and the Bukong monk translation of "Qianshou qianyan guanshiyin pusa dabeixin tuoluoni(千手千眼观世音菩萨大悲心陀罗尼" By inference the right wall should be a painting of the Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara Sutra.