AccScience Publishing / JCAU / Volume 4 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.36922/jcau.v4i2.192
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Tiangong Louge in Eastern Pure Land Illustrations of the Medicine Buddha – A Secondary Publication

Yiming You1 Yongchun Zhu1
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1 School of Architecture, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China
Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism 2022, 4(2), 192
Published: 20 September 2022
© 2022 by the Journal of Architectural History. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

After the arrival of Buddhism in China, the foreign concept of heavenly buildings merged with the indigenous Tang-Song architecture into what became known as tiangong louge (heavenly palaces). Through comparison with Song building standards (Yingzao Fashi), this paper analyzes the architectural representations of tiangong louge in Eastern Pure Land illustrations of the Medicine Buddha. What becomes immediately apparent is that Yingzao Fashi describes only a few specific buildings (dianshen, chalou, jiaolou, xiewu, xinglang), whereas the Pure Land illustrations depict a greater diversity and variety of forms (for example, sanmen). A possible reason for this is that the idea of the Eastern Pure Land underwent significant changes before the Yingzao Fashi was compiled. Another reason is that the belief in the Eastern Pure Land was always rooted in reality and the actual conditions of the site. Additionally, Eastern Pure Land illustrations reveal four different types of clustered design: open foreground, one courtyard; open foreground, two courtyards; closed foreground, one courtyard; and closed foreground, two courtyards.

Eastern Pure Land illustrations
tiangong louge
Yingzao Fashi
General Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China
Major Program of the National Social Science Fund of China

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Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism, Electronic ISSN: 2717-5626 Published by AccScience Publishing