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The Longman Grottoes (Caves Of The 10,000 Buddhas)

Photos and description

The Longman grottoes - one of the three most outstanding cave structures of China, which could be considered, also the caves of mogao and Yungang. The caves stretch for over 1 km along the river Yi on both sides. On the Eastern shore is a large number of small caves, which served as the residence for numerous groups of monks.

The Longman grottoes consist of approximately 1,400 caves, there are 100,000 statues of various sizes, from 25 mm height to the largest Buddha statue, the size of which is 17 meters in height. There are also approximately 2500 stelae and 60 pagodas. Fifty large caves are of medium size located on the Western slopes of which belong to the earlier period of occurrence compared to the caves on the Eastern slope.

A plethora of caves, sculptures on the slopes allows you to capture certain changes in style related to the time of their creation. On the Western slopes abound with carved figures of Buddha statues and religious people, while on the East the figure is already more difficult performed, including the portrayal of women, as well as ships. The caves are numbered consecutively from North to South along the West Bank of the river Yi.

The largest known caves with sculptures and inscriptions, Guang-Dong, the work which began in 493 year, Binjiang Dong - 505 year, Lianhua Dong - 520 a year, Bling-si - 520 a year, Sisko - 520 a year, Yaofang-Dong - 570 year Zaifu-Dong - 636 a year, Faha-Dong - 650 etc.

Of Guang-Dong, or the Old Sun Cave is the oldest cave LUN carved in the style of Northern Wei. Also it is the longest cave located in the Central part of the Western slope. The cave was hewn on the orders of Emperor Hsiao of Vienna. The earliest carving in this limestone cave is now dates from the year 478, when the Emperor Xiao Wei moved their capital from Datong to Luoyang. Here you can find 600 beautiful calligraphic inscriptions in the Northern Wei style.

In the cave there are 3 very large image. This is the Central image Sakyamuni Buddha with Bodhisattvas on either side. Very indicative of the Northern Wei style, which made these images of thin, emaciated bodies of the saints. Also in the cave was carved in about 800 inscriptions on the walls and in the niches, which is a record number in China. Along the cave are two rows of niches, with the Northern and southern sides, which contain a large number of drawings with the signatures of the artists.

For 4 centuries, artisans carved in the grottoes of Longmen new statues and reliefs. Alas, in the years of persecution of Buddhists in the IX century began the history of the destruction of the monastery. Then a devastating word said and the erosion of soft stone, and plundering raids of the Western collectors, and vandalism of the red guards during the "cultural revolution".

The Longman grottoes - a testimony to the creativity of Buddhist art. They to this day there are more than 2100 niches, 43 pagodas, over 100 thousand images of saints, 3600 inscriptions on the stone.