Tang stelae of this type, inscribed with the sutra, were inspired by earlier, 5th century, stelae found in cave temples, such as one dated in accordance with AD 428 and now in the collection of the Gansu Provincial Museum, Lanzhou, illustrated in Angela Falco Howard et al., Chinese Sculpture, New Haven and Beijing, 2006, p. 216, pl. 3.15, which was donated by Gao Shanmu from Jiuquan during the Northern Liang period (AD 398-439). This stele consists of five parts and in addition to the inscription is also decorated with seven seated Buddhas and the bodhisattva Maitreya.
Compare further two Northern Liang period stelae of this type published in Zhongguo meishu quanji [Complete series on Chinese art], vol. 3, Beijing, 1988, pls. 31-32, the former in the Jiuquan City Museum, Gansu province and the latter in the Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou; and a third, attributed to the mid-5th century, in the Museum of Indian Art, Berlin, illustrated in Matsubara Saburō, Chūgoku bukkyō chōkoku shiron/Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, Tokyo, 1995, plate vol. 1, pl. 30a.
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