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Eternal Longmen Grottoes

2009-05-27 10:30 BJT

The Longmen Grottoes are located on both banks of the Yi River, 13 kilometers south of Luoyang city. Here the two hills stand facing each other and the Yi River washes its way northward through the gorge.

The photo taken on May 26 shows Longmen bridge across the Yi River, south of Luoyang, central China's Henan Province.[Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]
The photo taken on May 26 shows Longmen bridge across the Yi River, 
south of Luoyang, central China's Henan Province.
[Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

The carving work at Longmen began during China's Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). It lasted more than 400 years. At present there are over 2,300 caves and niches, more than one hundred thousand Buddhist images and over 300,000 inscribed characters. The grottoes and niches in the two hills are known at home and abroad for their large numbers, massive scales, variety of subjects, delicate carving and profound meaning.

It is a truly wonderful scenic spot. Walking along the Yi River, I was intoxicated by the magnificent scenery of the massive scale caves. Incorporating original imperial style and the style of central China, the grottoes, created during the Northern Wei period and the Tang Dynasty, are the pinnacle in the development of stone carving.

Among the caves, Fengxiansi Cave, the largest one, is the most representative sculptural art work of the Tang Dynasty. The main Buddha Vairocana is 17.14 meters in height, with a head measuring four meters long and her ears 1.9 meters long.

With profound implication and beautiful workmanship, the Longmen Grottoes should be treasured as a bright pearl in the artistic treasure house of sculpture in the world.