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Iron Sutra Pillar in Changde

2013-04-07 18:24 ChineseTime

Travel to China--cháng dé tiě zhuàng
                               常    德 铁      幢    

 The Iron Sutra Pillar in Changde is located in the Binghu Park of Changde City, Hunan Province.

Originally located on the left of the original Qianming Temple at the foot of Deshan Mountain, the Iron Sutra Pillar in Changde was moved to its current location in January 1979. The Iron Sutra Pillar is a unique religious construction in ancient times. This sutra pillar is unusual because it was cast in segments from white pig iron instead of stones or woods. The sutra pillar follows wood-like column style, with twelve floors and short eaves protruding between floors. With a small top and a large base, this sutra pillar looks like a pagoda, so it is commonly called Iron Pagoda. There are half-length statues of Warriors and the statue of Sakyamuni cast on the bottom part of the pillar, with pestle-like patterns, patterns of joined beads, tigers and dragons decorated around. The text of Prajna-paramita-hrdaya-sutra, together with the names and positions of the donors, is cast on the middle part of the pillar. The pillar is 4 meters high, with a base of 0.9 meters in diameter and 1,520.8 kilograms in weight. The base of the pillar is a pedestal built of red sandstone, with a height of 1.42 meters. It is decorated with layers of flower and grass patterns, with smooth lines, simple and elegant.

According to the design, patterns, analysis of inscriptions and recent sampling spectrum test, the iron pillar is a relic of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It is very important for the research into the history of ancient Chinese metallurgy, Buddhism, community living of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and the local history of Hunan Province.

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