The Five-Colored Clouds of Mount Wutai: Poems from Dunhuang
In The Five-Colored Clouds of Mount Wutai: Poems from Dunhuang, Mary Anne Cartelli examines a set of poems from the Dunhuang manuscripts about Mount Wutai, the most sacred mountain in Chinese Buddhism. Dating from the Tang and Five Dynasties periods, they reflect the mountain’s transformation into the home of the bodhisattva Mañjusri, and provide important literary evidence for the development of Buddhism in China. This interdisciplinary study analyzes the poems using Buddhist scriptures and pilgrimage records, as well as the contemporaneous wall-painting of Mount Wutai in Dunhuang cave 61. The poems demonstrate how the mountain was created as a sacred Buddhist space, as their motifs reflect the cosmology associated with the mountain by the Tang dynasty, and they vividly portray the experience of the pilgrim traveling through a divinely empowered landscape.