Skywatchers, Shamans & Kings: Astronomy and the Archaeology of Power

By E C Krupp

Detect the celestial myths and cosmic rituals of historical clergymen and kings . . .
Drawing on intimate wisdom of the greater than 1,300 old websites he has visited, E. C. Krupp, acclaimed author and preeminent researcher, takes you to the world's crucial sacred areas and celestial shrines. subscribe to him on a wealthy narrative trip to work out the place the rulers of previous communed with the gods of the sky.
""Highly urged to every person drawn to the tradition of astronomy and people peoples who practiced it of their personal ways.""-Sky & Telescope
""A vigorous account of the ways that our ancestors conceived of and used the heavens.""-New Scientist
""There should be without doubt that this creative and readable paintings by means of a commonly learn and largely traveled writer will ring a bell within the minds of an outstanding many sleek readers.""-Isis
""The proven fact that the ebook is written by way of knowledgeable in his box comes via on each web page, as does his enthusiasm for the subject.""-Astronomy Now
""Krupp's quintessential quantity is attention-grabbing, well-illustrated, and covers a lot territory.""-Parabola

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Virudhaka brandishes a sword. His blue skin signals he is King of the South. The fourth king, Vaishravana, governs the north. His  face is yellow. He lifts the banner of victory and has a pet mongoose. The mongoose has the extraordinary ability to vomit jewels. Page 22 Lamaist Buddhism installed the Four Celestial Kings on the entrance wall of the Wuta si, or Temple of Five Pagodas, in Hohhot, the present capital of China's Neimenggu Autonomous Region (Inner Mongolia). From left to right, we encounter (top) the Guardian Kings of the South (with sword), East (with lute), (bottom) North (victory banner and mongoose), and West (stupa and snake). The first pair flank the left side of the main doorway, and the other two are on the right. This temple was constructed between 1736 and 1795. (photographs E. C. Krupp)    Page 23 Colorful, painted wood statues of the four kings have their own room in Beijing's Lama Temple. In Chinese, the name of this complex is Palace of Eternal Harmony,  and the four guardians of the compass are in the Hall of the Celestial Guardians. They protect the temple from anyone who tries to enter with an evil heart and are  joined by Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, and by Weituo, who is armed with an iron bar. He is the defender of the Buddha and the guardian of the door. In this  temple, the King of the North holds an umbrella instead of the banner. During the Tang dynasty, in 673 A. D. , gigantic statues of two of the Four Celestial Kings were carved in hard limestone relief in a grotto at Longmen. Altogether, there  are 1,352 grottoes and 97,306 statues here on both banks of the Yi River, about nine miles south of Luoyang in north­central China. Luoyang was the eastern capital  of the Tang era. According to tradition, the Tang Empress Wu Zetian contributed 2,000 strings of money from her cosmetics budget to finance the work on the largest  Longmen grotto. There, the two kings flank a central image of the Supreme Buddha, which is 56 feet high. Because the Celestial Kings are to the north and south of  the Buddha, they are thought to be the King of the North and the King of the South. The north king balances something like a pagoda, or a multitiered parasol, in his  upraised palm and holds a demon dwarf in place with his foot. Virupaksha, the Guardian King of the West, protects his domain in the entrance portico of the Tsokchen, the administrative center and largest building of Sera Monastery, which is located on the northern limits of Lhasa, Tibet. He holds a small bell­like stupa in one hand, and a snake slithers  off to the right. (photograph E. C. Krupp)    Page 24 A giant Celestial King of the North almost makes a Chinese Mount Rushmore out of Ju xian si cave in the Longmen grottoes on the Yi River. The figure to his right is a Li shi, or ''Defender of the Buddha. " (photograph Robin Rector Krupp) All four of the Heavenly Kings are hardnosed enforcers of cosmic order. Their association with the four cardinal directions tells us they anchor the world with celestial  legislation.

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