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San Zhang in Journey to the West

Homage to Ganesha.
Homage to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Here's evidence of the monk San Zhang:

Arhat - (multiple figures) (Himalayan Art)

"Hvashang, meaning a 'Chinese monk,' was allegedly an historic figure dispatched to India by a Tang Emperor to invite the buddha Shakyamuni to visit China. Since the Buddha had already passed away the invitation was then relayed to the 16 great arhats. Regarded as a monk he is also referred to as a patron because he presented the invitation. Neither of the common liturgies to the meditation practice of Shakyamuni Buddha and the 16 Arhats, popularized by the Lord Atisha and Kashmiri pandit Shakya Sribhadra, make reference to Hvashang. Therefore it is likely that he is an iconographic concept imported from China at a later time."

This thangka refers to Hvashang as the Tang priest mentioned in Journey to the West. The quote above attributes his presence in the art work as the "iconographic concept imported from China at a later time." This would date the art work as being originally conceived after the Tang Dynasty (618-690 CE).

His Chinese name is Xuanzang (also, Sanzang or San Tsang). The Sanzang Pagoda was built in 1944 in tribute to Xuanzang by the Machurian puppet government during Japanese occupation to house the remains of Sanzang, which were originally found in the Ruins of Glazed Pagoda at Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing of Jiangsu Province. Also stored at the temple, according to legend, is the complete Earth Buddha sutra, the Ksitigarbha Sutra.

Originally posted: September 29, 2003 8:21 PM


San Zhang - Himalayan Art:

San Zhang profile - vbtutor:

Xuanzang - Wikipedia:

The Sanzang Pagoda - Oriental Architecture:

Ruins of the Glazed Pagoda -

Ksitigarbha in 3D - Youtube:‎

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