Avatamsaka World-Yu yu Yang's Buddhist Art
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Avatamsaka World-Yu yu Yang's Buddhist Art

2010/4/10 ~ 2010/5/9
  • Avatamsaka World─Yu yu Yang's Buddhist Art

Avatamsaka World─Yu yu Yang's Buddhist Art


  Yuyu Yang’s contact of Buddha couud be traced back to his childhood. He was stunned by the beauty and grandeur of the N. Wei Bhddha at Yunkan Cave, but he began to imitate Buddha at Yunkan Cave under the request of National Museum of History to enrich its collection in 1955. In the same year, he completed “Standing Statue of Amita-Buddha” at the Lei-yin Temple in Yilan.

  Lei-yin Temple was related to Yuyu Yang’s aunt(his mother in law). Yuyu Yang’s mother in law was a pious Buddhist. Because Yuyu Yang was good at engraving Buddhist sculptures, his mother in law usually said , if all living creatures had the need, Yuyu Yang could offer his help to do something for all living creatures.

  Based on his mother’s wish, Yuyu Yang’s filial piety and on the deep experience of Hua-yan ideal state, Yuyu Yang didn’t decline any request of Buddhist sculpture even he was so busy on his sculpture creation.


  “Standing Statue of Amita-Buddha” at the Lei-yin Temple was over two meters tall. Its appearance was solemn, round and had the felling of magnanimity in N. Wei Era. A well known artistic scholar Qing-xiang Chen said,

  “This Buddha’s appearance was solemn, round and had the rugged feeling of former N. Wei Era. The Buddha was tall. The Buddha’s right hand raised upwards meant fearing about nothing. The Buddha’s left hand pointed downwards meant giving blessings to people. The fingers of both hands were connected with skin, like webfoot of poultry. This was one of the thirty two images of Buddha. The existing guilt bronze statue in the 7th year of Emperor Tai-ping in N. Wei Era (443AD) had the same hand gestues.

  However, the hair curls, flat usnisha (cranial protuberance) and drapery lines were not the N. Wei Era’s style. Its drapery lines wrapped from back to left arm. The Buddha’s chest had a mark”卍 .” The robe style followed one of ancient India’s monkish robe –folds were partially on right shoulder. But heavy and tight drapery  lines lost the original taste of ancient Gandhara and were like a Buddhist monk a heavy woolen robe.

  Briefly, this huge Buddha had the charm of former N. Wei Era and absorbed the western style with its modern cloth style. It’s a unity of East and West and unity of ancient periods and modern times.”

  During this period of accepting the requests, Yuyu Yang still lived in a narrow Japanese house on Qi-dong Street in Taipei. He worked in narrow hall and his wife fed her young baby in her arms. The photographer took a memorable picture which was a faithful portrayal in this period.

  This Buddhist sculpture had a duplicate one at Zhan-ran Temple’s hall.


Though “Coping One of the Great Works of Yunkang” for the National Museum of History was not a creative work, its difficulty of sculpturing was relatively hard. It was not easy to compress a huge Buddhist sculpture into a smaller size, and not to mention the data was based on one photo offered by Academia Sinica. It would be a diccicult test for a artist to re-appear the awe-struck original work.

  But Yuyu Yang remembered the touching memory at Yunkan Cave and vividly expressed Buhhha’s magnitude, power, and mercy.


  There were two types for Yuyu Yang’sBuddha sculptures. One was creative modem sculpture in late 1950s, like “Guanyin”(1955) and “Prophet”(1959). The other kind was faithful to the appearance of Buddha. This kind emphasized the spiritual image but not an artist’s personal ideas. The works mentioned in this part belonged in this kind.

  However,”Buddha’s Face”was a special one. Except for full and benign appearance , it seemed that there wasn’t any peculiar part. But in face, this sculpture was a high relief . It was so-called “eighty percent face”-it looked like a whole head at the first glimpse, however it only showed its right face without its back and left ear.

  This is sculpture of fixing the angle. It would be a challenging for an artist under the limits of round-like and flat-like shape.

  This work had this rare technique. On its full face , the mild eyebrows expressed droopy and calm expression in Buddha’s eyes.Under full nose was smiling lips. On the forehead was neat hair buns . All these characteristics had a visual satisfaction of Buddha’s solemnity and mercy.



  Though Yuyu yang’s art creations were not mass experiments and developments as modern scultptures were, they still showed their multiple spirits. “Merciful Bodhisattva” in 1962 was an example.

  This work contained the fun of N. Wei Era’s sculptures. An artistic scholar Yi-kai Chen pointed out.


“Yang’s love of N. Wei Era’s sculpture could be found some clues from“Merciful Bodhisattva.” The Buddha was a hlf-length portrait. On its back was the nimbus; therefore it could be treated as a half relief. The Bodhisattva wore a tall crown with the crown strings floating. Hair belw the crown was smooth. The Bodhisattva face was lengthwise, eyebrows were slender, lips were smiling, upper part was naked, and below part was wearing a high waist skirt. The Bodhisattva had a slender shape and wore a stole robe. The robe stretched to as floating ribbon and crossed in front of Bodhisattva belly. The Buddha was thin, beautiful and with a smiling expression. In order to meet the vividness and fluency of modern sculpture, Yuyu Yang deliberately made the statue simple and rough. But if we had a close observation on its source, it was exactly similar to “Tai-he” style(477-479) at Yunkan Cave during emperor Xiao-wen in Bei-wei.”

  After 1980,Yuyu Yang walked into another peak on Buddhist sculpture and had abundant works, such as “Blessing Guanyin”(1982), “Cian Bodhisattva”(1984), “Goddness Guanyin & Prayer Sancai”(1989), “Majur Bodhisattva”(1989), “Samantabhadra”(1989).


  Yuyu Yang put most of his efforts in Buddhist sculpture and was converted to Buddhism and named “Hong-chang.” Yuyu Yang once discussed this in his article “Hua-yan ldeal State – The Beauty of Buddhist Sculpture and Chinese Modeling.”

  “Buddhist sculpture inevitably had the “shape,” but Chinese Buddhist sculpture’s uniqueness lies in catching abundant details of human’s body and blending Lao-tzu’s idea of “A man of great wisdow often seems slow witted.” Typical sturdy shoulders, limbs and round forehead serve as foils to full earlobes, curved eyebrows, facing down eyes and smiling lips, which composed balanced beauty. It not only jumped out the limitation of  human’s body but also expressed Buddha’s solemn and mercy appearance. Buddhist art set up long-standing, solid and endless patterns for the rules of judging beauty. ”


  He also said,

  “Buddhist art was artistic spirit and metaphysical image. The interaction of the two generates Hua-yan ideal state. In this environment, people figure out meditation and profound wisdom of life. This was almost the same idea of “Gain through imagination” in Chinese modeling esthetics. This is the reason why Buddhist art can be rooted in China-both thoughts and shapes have some interactive parts.”

  Yuyu Yang exactly understood and created Chinese Buddhist sculptures from this angle.



善財禮觀音 銅 85x51x32cm 1989
文殊菩薩 銅 40x34x17cm 1989
仿北魏彌勒菩薩 銅 60x33x12cm 1989
普賢菩薩 銅 41x38x21cm 1989
地藏王菩薩 銅 47x32x32cm 1981年
仿雲岡石窟大佛 銅 82x85x37cm 1955
祈安菩薩 銅 66x27x27cm 1984
葯師佛 銅 30x26x26cm 1988
盧舍那佛 銅 30x18x18cm 1979
觀自在 銅 56x11x15cm 1955
慈眉菩薩 銅 49x25x16cm 1962
佛顏 銅 30x20x8cm 1961
七爺八爺 銅 5x13x13cm 1956
六根清淨 銅 61x12.5x15cm 1955
牛頭 銅 27x33x11cm 1962