Chinese Landscapes 2 --Feilai Peak
It was said that an Indian monk by the name of Huili, upon his arrival in
the valley, was surprised to see the peak towering in the valley. He
wondered aloud "when did peak come flying all the way from India
to this place?" Hence the name.
With a height of 209 meters, Feilai Peak, totally different from the surrounding
mountains, is of pure limestone while the surrounding mountains are of sandstone.
Many grotesque stones, in the shapes of charming dragon, prostrate tiger, walking
elephant and scared ape scatter here and there on the peak, with queer colors, making
this peak distinctive among all hills and peaks nearby. No matter, Yuandao, a celebrity
of the Ming dynasty, praised that the peak came out number one if compared with all
other hills and peaks around the West Lake.
The cliffs of the peak are dotted with over 340 stone statues in various gestures: sitting, standing or sleeping. Many of these stone statues are quite unique and have unparalleled
values in the art history. The biggest Buddha image is the Maitreya with cloth bag on
shoulder, otherwise known for Buddha of Joy. With exposed breast and belly, it sits on
cliff along the brook, laughing from Northern Song (960-1127) up to now.
Legend goes that, the peak had flown all round and destroyed many villages before
it settled down in Hangzhou. In order to prevent the peak from flying to other place
and causing more damages, over 500 Buddha statues were caved out of the peak to
suppress the peak.
It's true, Feilai Peak is so dissimilar from those hills near West Lake. No matter
people would doubt if it is truly an extraneous guest.
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Photo credits: Sang Lei.