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Longmian mountain Villa as earthly paradise

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Chapter Summary

The distinctive syncretic characteristics of Longmian Chan and Li Gonglin's relationship with its major participants serve as the foundation for this chapter's approach to Mountain Villa. The plethora of Buddhist references in the scroll, when their textual origins and iconographic metaphors are deciphered, reveals the Mountain Villa as nothing less than an earthly paradise. Of the built structures of Mountain Villa, Robert E. Harrist has identified six, and out of these six he has pinpointed three whose names bear Buddhist connotations. Ink Chan Hall, Flower Garland Hall, and Lodge of Fragrant Reeds, the last of which was described by Su Che as a "pure room"; Harrist explains that this site refers to "the grass on which the Buddha was said to have been sitting when he attained enlightenment". The chapter demonstrates how his Mountain Villa was also the product of local Longmian Chan influence.

Keywords: Buddhist culture; earthly paradise; iconographic metaphors; Li Gonglin; Longmian mountain villa



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