Dharani Pillar

Dali Kingdom, 1200-1220 AD
Kunming City Museum

This finely-carved dharani pillar originally occupied the grounds of a temple which has since disappeared. Much later, the City Museum was built on the site, leaving the pillar undisturbed. Constructed in 9 levels upon an octagonal base, and over 8m (26 feet) tall, the red sandstone pillar represents both a Mt. Sumeru world-axis and an Esoteric Buddhist mandala.

(1) Angela F. Howard, et. al., Chinese Sculpture, Yale (2006), pp. 349-355
(2) Angela F. Howard, The Dharani Pillar of Kunming, Artibus Asiae, Vol. 57, No. 1/2 (1997), pp. 33-72