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Top 3 Greatest Ancient Buddhist Grottoes in China

by Winnie Wong | June 12, 2017

1. Mogao Buddhist Grottoes, Dunhuang

These Buddhist grottoes in Dunhuang ahve been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

There are more than 735 grottoes, 45 thousand square metres of Buddhist wall painting, colourfully constructed and decorated with murals and statues from five dynasties, dating from  350- 1368. It is the most impressive Buddhist art caves in the world. Many books and manuscripts were taken to the United Kingdom from the library caves, by the British archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein and are 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 can be traced back as far as 492AD, are to 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 to get to the Grottoes.

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