Feitian – The Goddess of Buddhism

When you roam around in the vast expanse of the ancient land of China, you encounter a number of cave architectures, ancient temples and grottos. In most of these places the thing that you are most likely to encounter is the sculpture and murals of Feitian – the Goddess of Buddhism.

It is interesting to note, that Feitian does not refer to any single Goddess…. In ancient China, the name Feitian was used to generally refer to the most beautiful goddesses who according to the tradition of Buddhism were the designated deities of music in the heaven. In course of history, Feitian – the Goddess of Buddhism came to symbolize beauty and sanctity along with music.

Feitian – the Goddess of Buddhism has been imagined as a flying Goddess. Some experts are of the opinion that the imagery of Feitian was inspired by Western art, whereas some experts were of the opinion that it was the Indian concept of Apsaras that inspired the creation of Feitian. The Murals depicting Feitians are to be found in the Yuangang, Longmen and Dunhung Grottos. Here Feitian has been imagined as a goddess of cloud and water following Indian mythology. As a goddess of cloud and water, the marsh and lakes provide habitat for this beautiful flying Goddess, who just loves to fly around bodhi trees.

Feitian – the Goddess of Buddhism has also been perceived as the lover of a God named Jiletian in Buddhist scripture. Being the goddess of heaven song or music, she can play beautiful music and sing songs. The goddess is also imagined as being fragrant and thus she is also referred to as “Fragrant goddess with sweet voice.”

In various places, various imageries have been imagined. Somewhere, Feitian even had beard. But in most of the cases, Feitian is represented as young girls with cute faces and slender figure that fly around in a gentle mood. In Dunhuang murals, Feitian has been represented without wings and feather, only a ribbon fluttering around her; it cuts a beautiful picture of movement and freedom.

The experts on Oriental arts are of the opinion that the imageries of Feitian – the Goddess of Buddhism represent the yearning for freedom of the common people of ancient China.


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