Chinese Landscapes 2 --Feilai Peak

Stone carving


Feilai Peak, also named Lingjiu Peak, stands in front of Lingyin Temple.

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.

Photo credits: Sang Lei.
  • Sleiselei
  • Beijing, China

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