Angela F. Howard
- Rutgers University-New Brunswick
In spite of hosting 1000 Arhats/Luohans images, Laitan is more than a Chan (Meditation) Buddhist site. Laitan is emblematic of specifically Song period trend, thus far unrecognized, whereby deities were extrapolated from their original doctrinal affiliation and location. They became 'fellow travellers' to form under one roof - in caves and temples- for the convenience of believers, grandiose and novel pantheons of Buddhist gods. This study has relevance for both Buddhist religion specialists and art historians.