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South Cave at Northern Xiangtangshan

Like the North Cave, the South Cave was commissioned by the Northern Qi court, but it presents a different plan. Lacking a central pillar, it is an open cubical chamber with three altars on the back and side walls. Each altar originally included seven figures arranged symmetrically: a seated Buddha in the center, flanked by three pairs of standing deities. Images of incense burners, lions, and deities appear on the altar bases. Rows of small seated Buddhas occupy the upper niches and cave walls. The ceiling features a large carved lotus.

The Digital Cave displayed in Echoes of the Past virtually reconstructs the damaged South Cave.
View the Digital Cave »

map of the south cave

detail from a digital recreation of the south cave

Top: Floor plan of the South Cave, northern Xiangtangshan. Bottom: Still of screen from Digital Cave with missing fragments in yellow.

Explore objects from the South Cave »

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.