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Longmen Grottoes, One of the Three Great Buddhist Grottoes in China

view:author:Magic Stoneupdate:2012/11/20

Longmen Grottoes, One of the Three Great Buddhist Grottoes in China

Located in the south of Luoyang, Henan Province, Longmen Grottoes contains the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese grottoes art. These works represent the summit of Chinese stone carving and considered one of the three great grottos in China.

The construction of the Longmen Grottoes began in 493 during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen and continued for a span of over 400 years. The Buddhist caves features more than 2,345 caves and grotto niches, 43 pagodas, 3,600 tablets and 100,000 statues. The site has also been known as the “forest of ancient steles” for the biggest number of steles and inscriptions ever seen in any of the grottoes in the world.

The grottoes are a gallery of Chinese art. It reflected significant information of developments and changes of politics, economy, religion, culture, and other aspects in ancient China. There are, of course, numerous depictions of the life of the Buddha. In addition, the grotto carvings include disciples, bodhisattvas, guardians, apsaras and other creatures that reflect the changing elements of the Buddhist faith in China over hundred of years and numerous dynasties.

The Longmen sculptures reflect the styles of earlier Indian and Yungang grotto art. The figures often are clad in roomier Han-style gowns and reflect an elegant grace that was to influence much of China’s later Buddhist sculpture. The earlier Northern Wei statues mostly are of Shakyamuni and Maitreya Bodhisattva; later statues are more attached to the Maitreya Buddha of the Future and the Amitabha and Guanyin, the compassionate Bodhisattva who reflected concern for personal salvation.

The Longmen Grottoes have made important contributions to the creation and development of the Chinese carving art. The Longmen Grottoes illustrate the perfection of a long-established art form which was to play a highly significant role in the cultural evolution of this region of Asia.

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