"Depository of Ancient Spirits" (Gushenku )

From Donald B. Wagner, "Chinese monumental iron castings," Journal of East Asian archaeology,vol. 2, no. 2/3 (2000). [ http://www.AncientEastAsia.org/archaeologists/dbwagner/monfig.html]

Gushenku Figure 3. The four cast-iron warriors guarding the 'Depository of Ancient Spirits' (Gu shen ku) of the Zhongyue Temple in Dengfeng , Henan, photographed by Édouard Chavannes (reproduced from Chavannes 1909­15). Heights range from 254 to 260 cm. An inscription cast into one indicates that they were cast in A.D. 1064 (Shi Yan 1988: 35); Chavannes appears to be mistaken when he gives the date 1213.

Figure 4. One of the warriors shown in Figure 3, photographed in 1987.

Note from Donald Wagner:

The story of the gu shen ku, as I understand it, is that the temple was in ruins, and in about 1064 it was completely restored. Those 'bits and pieces' (old broken statues, whatever) which could not be used in the restoration were placed in this little house and the four warriors were put up to guard it. Today the house is sealed up tight, and one gets the impression that it has been sealed since 1064, but you can see in Chavannes' photograph that it was open and empty in the early 20th century.