Sunday, March 08, 2009

108 Stupas at Qingtong Gorge

Twenty kilometers south of the city of Qingtongxia, on the western bank of Qingtong Gorge, (through which the Yellow River runs on its way across Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region), and about 76 kilometers south-southwest of the city of Yinchuan, stands this collection of stupas, arranged in triangular formation on an incline.

These are the "Baiba (108) Pagodas," believed to originate during the Yuan (CE 1279-1368), though they were referred to as "ancient" in local historical accounts written in the Ming (CE 1368-1644).

A silk book was unearthed from beneath the base of one, with writing that corresponds to script in use during the Xia Dynasty ( BCE 2000-1500).

The 108 are arranged in twelve tapering rows of odd numbers – from 19 in the base row to 1 at the top – thus forming a large, equilateral triangle. They range in height from 3½ meters to 2½ meters.

Things like this put me in mind of doing a world catalog of Buddhist monuments,using GIS technology. Wouldn't that be fun?

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1 reader comments:

Fishy said...

The world catalog of Buddhist monuments sounds like a great idea. You could do a KML file which would add a layer to Google Earth.