South Site | Cave 7
Cave 7 is the best preserved of the caves at the Southern Xiangtangshan site, with the exterior displaying architectural features based on wood post and lintel architecture rendered in stone. The porch in front has a stone eave and tiled roof supported on columns and brackets. At the top is a domed roof. Two muscular lishi-type guardian figures stand in the porch on either side of the entrance to the cave. The principal sculpted figures inside the cave, five in each of the three niches, are still largely in place, though most are missing their heads. The seated Buddhas, standing bodhisattvas, and disciples were carved in one piece with the cave walls and thrones (with the exception of one of the Buddhas), and thus were not easily removed. Carvings on the front of the altars include incense burners, lions and nature spirits known as Spirit Kings, as seen at Northern Xiangtangshan. In addition many rows of small “thousand Buddhas” appear on the walls behind the main images and from the front wall around the entrance. On the ceiling, heavenly musicians encircle a central lotus blossom carved in relief.