The Buddhist caves of Xiangtangshan in Fengfeng Mining District, Handan, Hebei province, are the largest and most important group of rock-cut cave shrines of the late Northern Dynasties period. These were created in the Northern Qi period (550-577), a brief period that produced many high quality works of art. In addition to their highly refined sculptures and innovative design, Xiangtangshan caves are rich in textual content. Many of the caves have engraved inscriptions that include texts from Buddhist scriptures and dedicatory inscriptions that record the making of images of Buddhist divinities by donor-worshippers. Unlike the sculptures that are mostly damaged, the inscriptions are still largely preserved at the two main Northern and Southern groups of caves and a third site at Shuiyusi. Of particular importance, the stele of Northern Qi official Tang Yong at the Cave of the Engraved Scriptures, records his sponsorship of the carving of entire Buddhist sutras between the years of 568 and 572. This is the only dated Northern Qi period inscription providing evidence of the existence of the caves at Northern Xiangtangshan at that time.

The engravings and relief carvings are recorded as photographs of rubbings produced with ink on paper. The Center for the Art of East Asia has acquired them through the generosity of Mr. Zhang Lintang who produced the rubbings and photographs of them. Most have been published together with transcriptions of the texts in a work by Zhang Lintang and Xu Peilan, Xiangtangshan shiku beike tiji zonglu [An Overall Record of the Summaries of the Stone Inscriptions at the Xiangtangshan Grottoes], v. 1 and 2, Beijng: Foreign Languages Press, 2007. The rubbings on the website are largely illustrated in this publication are shown with their figure numbers from the book.

This website was created by Charles Crable and Katherine Tsiang with the assistance of Zhiyan Yang and Zhenru Zhou.

Link to https://xts.uchicago.edu.