Travel to China: Beijing: Photo 14
Terraces like these (xumi zuo) were not just a way of making visitors look up; they were intended to represent Mt. Meru, the center of the Buddhist universe. (the word xumi is the Chinese equivalent of Sumeru, "sublime Meru.") In this way, they suggested the center of the earth. Triple Sumeru terraces like this one are exceedingly rare, though they can also be found at the so-called Temple of Heaven and at the Yongle Emperor's tomb. They are derived from the plinth on which statues of the Buddha sit: that plinth, too, is called xumi.
Back to China: Beijing chapter
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