The symbol of the three hares can be seen throughout the centuries and in cultures and religions around the world, from Asia to the British Isles and within Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. Though its precise age and origin is still a mystery, some of the oldest representations are found in Chinese Buddhist cave temples from 5-600 and it is thought the motif may have travelled along the Silk Road, through the Middle East, Poland, Germany and into the British Isles. Celtic versions of the puzzling three hares, chasing around a center point, each with two ears but with only three in total, are common throughout the UK, in various art forms and sacred sites.
This particular design is from the Magao Caves, an extensive system of caves and sanctuaries along the Silk Road in China's Gansu Province which contains 1000 years of Buddhist images and statues from the 4th to the 14th Century. This beautiful example from the lesson was from Cave 139,
Late Tang dynasty (848-906). Read more from the Journal...
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