"Ri-Song-Gong-Bo" statues in Gyirong

“Ri-Song-Gong-Bo” statues (meaning the stature of three protectors) are carved on a huge rock behind Bangxing village. The rock is around 2.2 meters tall and 3.2 meters high. The stature is 1.5 meters high. It depicts a total of three deities: in the middle, there is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (the Bodhisattva of compassion) ;on the left, Vajrapani Bodhisattva (the Bodhisattva of power); on the right, Manjushri Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva of wisdom). They are known as Three Protectors and together were called “Ri-Song-Gong-Bo”.

All three wear high jewelry crowns, have long ears that touch the shoulders, and wear earrings of interlined large circles. Most parts of the statures are naked, except for the “T” shaped wide band on their waists. They stand shoeless on the lotus seat. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva wears a high crown in the shape of a Chinese character “山”. In the middle, there is a pagoda. Her right hand points to the ground whereas the left hand touches the decorative band on her left leg. Her hip leans slightly towards the right, creating an “S” shape in her body. There are bracelets on her left arm. Behind her head, there is a halo. On her left side, there is a blooming lotus whose stem is decorated with lotus seedpod and leaves. Below the stature there are two servants on both sides, all wearing lotus crown, large earrings, necklace and they are naked except for a “T” shape band on their waists. They have large breasts and slender waists. They each kneel on their side upon a lotus seat.

Vajrapani Bodhisattva has fire-shaped decorations on both arms. In the middle of the decoration, there is a stature. His right hand points to the ground, resting on a lotus seedpod with palms facing outside. She holds a lotus bud that is about to bloom. From the right hip to legs, there is a loose band on beside her thighs. He stands with two slightly parting feet.

Manjushri Bodhisattva wears one band from the left shoulder to the waist. From the right hip to the thigh, there is also a wide band beside the left thigh. His hands naturally rest beside him, with right palm facing outside, touching a pair of lotus seedpod. He stands with slightly parting feet. Above the stature, there are dense curving grasses and auspicious clouds.

“Ri-Song-Gong-Bo” stature is made by craftsman from Nepal in the mid 7th century. The carvings are exquisite and involve sophisticated techniques. The proportion of the statue’s body is well balanced. Even the wrinkles on the clothes are of the same depth. The lines are soft and smooth. The style is clearly influenced by South Asian culture. The “T” shaped band on the statues’ waists could be traced back to 2r century BC in the carvings of male and female Yakshas in India. The well-preserved “山” shaped high crown are valuable heritages from the ancient time.