The Top 3 Greatest Ancient Buddhist Grottoes in China
1. Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang
The UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in Dunhuang (on the Silk Road).
There are more than 735 grottoes, 45 thousand square metre Buddhism wall painting, 2415 colourful constructed and decorated with murals and statues over 5 dynasties, periods from 350- 1368. It is the most impressive Buddhist art caves in the world. Many books and manuscripts from the library caves were taken to the United Kingdom by the British archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein and now on display at the British Library in London.
2. Yungang Grottoes, Datong
The massive Yungang Buddhist grottoes were cut from rock during the Northern Wei Dynasty (385 AD – 535 AD). The grottoes were excavated in the south face of a sandstone cliff about 2600 feet long and 30 to 60 feet high, located near the city of Datong in Shaanxi. The fives Caves are a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Chinese cave art, with a strict unity of layout and design.
3. Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang
Set along the banks of the Yi River is the largest collection of Buddhist art in China. It dates from the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316 AD – 907 AD). Over 100,000 stone crafted Buddhist statues, 60 stupas and 2,800 inscriptions ,which trace back as far as 492AD, can be found in the Longmen Grottoes. You can still find evidence of the bright colours once painted on the statues. Be prepared to climb the many steps when getting to Grottoes on the Mt. Longmen.
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