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Yungang Grottoes: Buddhist caves house art treasures

By Zhang Xingjian ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2018-06-27

Sponsored by the Datong Municipal Commission of Tourism Development and LY.com, a Suzhou-based online travel agency, the 2018 China Datong User-Generated Content Travel Guide Competition was held in Datong, a historic cultural city in North China’s Shanxi province, starting June 22.

During the contest, tourists have a chance to take a closer look at the amazing cultural heritage and fantastic natural scenery of a Chinese cultural hub.

For many travelers, if they say they have been to Datong, more often than not they mean they have have been to the Yungang Grottoes, the Buddhist grotto complex dating back to the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) situated on the outskirts of the city.

Indeed, as the city’s most significant landmark, Yungang Grottoes boasts thousands of statues. The largest is 17 meters tall; the smallest, two centimeters. It was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2001.

Yungang Grottoes, imposingly chiseled on the mountain slope and extending about one kilometer from east to west, is one of four famous treasure houses of Chinese grotto art. The other three are the Dunhuang Mogao Caves, Luoyang Longmen Grottoes and Maijishan Grottoes.

Vivid, lifelike, elegant and graceful, these statues represent the Buddhist art treasure caves in China.

There are 53 grottoes of different sizes and more than 51,000 Buddha sculptures.

The 20th cave was a statue built in the open air. It sits 13.75 meters high and is regarded as the masterpiece of the grottoes.

While influenced by Buddhist cave art from South and Central Asia, Yungang Grottoes have also interpreted Buddhist cave art with a distinctive Chinese character.

As a result, Yungang Grottoes have played a vitally important role among early Oriental Buddhist grottoes and had a far-reaching impact on Buddhist cave art in China and East Asia.

Yungang Grottoes: Buddhist caves house art treasures

Yungang Grottoes are a cradle of Buddhist art, playing host to more than 51,000 sculptures. [Photo by Zhang Xingjian/chinadaily.com.cn]

 

Yungang Grottoes: Buddhist caves house art treasures

Yungang Grottoes are a cradle of Buddhist art, playing host to more than 51,000 sculptures. [Photo by Zhang Xingjian/chinadaily.com.cn]

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