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Shanxi - Yungang Grottoes (UNESCO)

Similar to Dunhuang's Mogao Grottoes, the Yungang Grottoes is located in Datong City of Shanxi province in China. If you are interested in Buddhism, Yungang Grottoes has some excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and is one of the three most famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.

The Yungang Grottoes was listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2001, and it was considered as a “masterpiece of early Chinese Buddhist cave art…[and]…represents the successful fusion of Buddhist religious symbolic art from south and central Asia with Chinese cultural traditions, starting in the 5th century CE under Imperial auspices.”

The stone carvings were from the 5th and 6th centuries and the techniques of carving them were really outstanding. Within the site, there are 252 grottoes with more than 51,000 Buddha statues and statuettes.

The core area includes the remains of a castle, a defense wall, and a beacon tower of the Ming Dynasty on the plain above the grottoes.

You will definitely be fascinated by how the ancient people were able to carve such a huge Buddha from the stone with the right body proportion. For comparison, you can see that there are a few Buddhists in the wrong proportion, and those were really the oldest work within the grottoes. And I truly think they have learned from the past and carved better and better from then on.

written by candy_candy

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