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0204 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 204 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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reminding one of buildings in the Temple of Heaven in Peking. It was round, and had two roofs. The lower one rested on an outer ring of columns, while the upper portion, shaped like a mushroom, was supported by twelve tall, free-standing columns in the interior of the hall itself.

In the temple-hall there was a large, circular plinth of beautifully ornamented marble about seven feet high, whose smooth top supported a kind of tabernacle or shrine of brown wood. Inside this latter, hidden from the eyes of the world, was an image of the Tibetan god Samvara (Demchok) .

P'u-lo-tien presented a very pleasing and attractive appearance. Seen from the desolate hills, it showed up to advantage among the surrounding pavilions. But it was just as beautiful when seen from the forecourt where the tall pine-trees grew, and where, at the slightest breeze, all the roof-bells tinkled as if spirits of the air were speaking with their voices.

Far away to the south-east, on the top of the highest of the eastern hills, was a natural pillar that was like a ruined tower. This column, visible from the whole of the surrounding country, is caused by erosion, and the Chinese call it, aptly enough, »The Batlet. »

Quite close to the P'u-lo-tien on the eastern side of the Je-ho there are two minor temples called P'u-shan-ssu (the Temple of Universal Goodness) and P'u-jen-ssu (the Temple of Universal Love) . They were both built by the Mongol princes in honour of the Emperor K'ANG HsI's sixtieth birthday, in 1713.


Between the Potala and the Lo-han-t'ang is situated the temple Shu-hsiang-ssu. It is striking by reason of the excellent state of preservation of the hall, with its three tall Buddhas in front of which was a Laughing Buddha — an almost naked, jovially grinning figure with swollen belly and puffy fingers. This image was lighted by the daylight which poured through the open doors, and the shining gold conjured up an effect of greasy well-being. His head was bald, his eyes almost shut, and his ears so long that the lobes rested on his shoulders. A scanty mantle was draped over his arms and legs, but it was far too small to hide his swelling paunch. The throne upon which he sat with up-drawn knees was very simple, and hardly matched the substantial body.1

We went up a flight of steps to a very dilapidated, octagonal pavilion resting on the usual terrace with a parapet. It seemed to be open on all sides, as most

1 On a photograph taken by MONTELL on the occasion of his first visit six months earlier, this Laughing Buddha is sitting on a proper throne ornamented with very rich carvings. This throne had evidently been exchanged for a much simpler one before Dr HEDIN's visit. F. B.