Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

On March 14, 2011, in Beijing, Cool Places, Shanghai, by Jack Li

Attracted by China Buddhist culture, you may choose to Travel to Tibet when planning your China Tours. But you should also not miss the shining pearl on the Silk Road — Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes. Dunhuang, located in the desert corridor of northwestern Gansu Province, lies close to the east of Xinjiang and to the west […]

Attracted by China Buddhist culture, you may choose to Travel to Tibet when planning your China Tours. But you should also not miss the shining pearl on the Silk Road — Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes.

Dunhuang, located in the desert corridor of northwestern Gansu Province, lies close to the east of Xinjiang and to the west of Qilian mountain range. This is a 2,000-year old city and was an important resting place for merchants traveling along the Silk Road linking China with Central Asia. Today, this city attracts visitors for the most precious treasure of Buddhist Art known in the world — the Mogao Grottoes.  

    

The Mogao Grottoes, the most archaic Buddhist holy land, lies 25 kilometers southeast of Dunhuang in a river valley between the Sanwei Mountain and the Mingsha Mountain. According to a stone inscription of Tang Dynasty, the stone carvings there came into being in 360 AD, when a Buddhist monk named Yue Seng passed this place and saw a vision of thousands of golden Buddhas. Over the following 1,000 years, hundreds of caves were carved out of the steep sandstone cliffs in a layered honeycombs pattern and connected together by wooden walkways and ladders.    

    

Murals and statues      

The Mogao Grottoes’ 45,000 square meters of mural paitings and more than 2000 color statues are regarded as the greatest treasure-house of Buddhist art existing in the world. Those well preserved caves span a period of one thousand years, from the 4th to the 14th century, and visually present with vivid detail the culture of medieval China.      

    

    

 

Manuscripts and texts       

The Dunhuang hoard consisted of about 13,500 manuscripts, with printing and fragments included, of 19,200 items. It is the largest and most important group of oriental manuscripts ever found.       

Impressed writing exists in Dunhuang manuscripts from the early 5th to the 10th centuries and was a convenient method for Buddhist students to take note on their coples of a text during a lecture. Sometimes they wrote over these in ink after the lecture. The further discovery and study of such marks will help us to verify the pronunciation of classical Chinese and the method of Buddhist teaching.       

    

History

After the 14th century, the grottoes were abandoned. They were accidentally rediscovered in 1900 by a man called Wang Yuanlu who took refuge here while fleeing famine in Hubei Province. He stumbled upon the hidden monastery library, a priceless collection of scrolls, books, embroideries, paintings and scriptures left behind by monks living there and then driven by the army of the Western Xia in 1036. Lacking of interest by the corrupted government of Qing Dynasty, Wang sold those precious arts to British and French Sinologists case by case. Before 1949, this place had been continually plundered by warlords, local bureaucrats, officers and soldiers of KMT as well as western collectors.        

Dunhuang Mural in Britain

The desert and cliff on the upper side of the Grottoes are distinctive contrast to the lower green valley. But the valley still cannot protect the grottoes from being eroded by wind and rain. They are all severely damaged from inside and many have collapsed. Today, 492 grottoes are still standing. Each cave has a label attached to it, indicating its number, date and dynasty. The grottoes cover eight dynasties: the Northern and Western Wei Dynasty, the Sui Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty, the Five Dynasties, the Song Dynasty, the Western Xia Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty.       

        

In 1987, UNESCO placed the Mogao Grottoes under the protection of the world cultural heritage list.      

If you are interested in such precious treasure and spectacular beauty, please book your China Flights and come to Dunhuang.

Wonderful China Travel: Just for You

On October 15, 2010, in Cool Places, Cultural Experience, Shanghai, by Jack Li

Wonderful! It’s time for you to have china travel, to enjoy the ancient culture in Xi’an, to appreciate the modern and prospect city Beijing, to feel the peaceful and beautiful scenery in Guangxi, to find more wonderful travel experience, just join our China Tours. For most visitors who come to China for the first time, […]

Wonderful! It’s time for you to have china travel, to enjoy the ancient culture in Xi’an, to appreciate the modern and prospect city Beijing, to feel the peaceful and beautiful scenery in Guangxi, to find more wonderful travel experience, just join our China Tours.

For most visitors who come to China for the first time, the best option for your travel in China is the Multi-City Tours, it means that you travel to several cities at the same time and along the travel routes you have made. It’s better that these cities are not very apart from each other, and be sure that the routes will give you a pleasant trip. In the following passage, I will give you some options for Multi-City Tours.

Mystery of Silk Road—the whole route is Beijing to Xi’an to Dunhuang to Turfan. During this travel, you can experience of world’s oldest and most historically important trade routes and its influences on the culture of China, Asia and the West. Trace the footprints of ancient Silk Road from Xi’an to Kashgar discovering the gems in China.

The most amazing attractions are followed:

The Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Caves of A Thousand Buddhas, are set into a cliff wall of the Singing Sand Mountains about 25km southeast of Dunhuang, the oasis city in the Gobi desert. The 3 or 4 tier grottoes extend 1.6 kilometers. According to historical records, the Mogao Grottoes were carved in 366 AD. There are 492 grottoes in existence with some 45,000 square meters of murals, and 415 painted clay figures. It represents the height of Buddhist art and the world’s richest treasure house of Buddhist sutras, murals and sculptures.
The vaults or pits containing Qin Shihuang’s Terracotta Army are located about 40 km east of Xian. This army of more than 6,000 life size terracotta warriors, with horses and chariots lined up facing east and ready for battle, is one of the world’s most remarkable archaeological finds. The terracotta warriors were made for Qin Shihuang also known as The First Emperor, and with his mausoleum lying only 1.5km, (0.9 miles) away it is assumed the army was made to accompany him on his journeys after death.

The Grape Valley is at the western foot of the Flaming Mountains, between the township of Turpan and the mountains. Grape Valley and the nearby city of Turpan are an oasis in the Turpan Depression which is one of the hottest place on earth due it’s altitude of more than a hundred of meters below sea level and supplied by melting snow water from the hills around by the ancient Karez irrigation system. The valley is dense with grape vines and various fruit trees. Despite the extreme heat, especially during the summer when the tempetures can reach over 45 ° during in Turpan, the Grape Valley, an eight kilometer long and half a kilometer wide oasis remains cool and humid. Historically the grape, melon and many other fruit growin and wine production in and around Turpan goes back over 2,000 years. The grapes are grown on trellised walkways, that in July to August, are heavily laden with large bunches of grapes. The valley produces the famous seedless white grape, and red and black grapes later in the season. The grape growing covers about 220 hectares and peaches, apricots, apples, pears, watermelons and melons are also grown in abundance.

Do not worry about the transportation; you can go on your travel by China Flights, it will give you more convenience and make sure you have a comfortable and pleasant trip.

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