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World Cultural Heritage: Longmen Grottoes

09-29-2010 15:21 BJT

Watch video:China archives of world heritage-Longmen grottoes

Assessment of the World Heritage Committee

Grottoes and alcoves for Buddha in the Longmen region reflect the largest and most outstanding artificial art during the Northern Wei Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty (from 493 to 907) in China. The artistic works described the themes of the Buddhist religion in detail and represented the peak of Chinese stone carving art.

Longmen Grottoes

Chinese name: Long Men Shi Ku

English name: Longmen Grottoes

Based on the standards C(I)(II)(III) for selecting world cultural heritage, the Longmen Grottoes were listed in the World Heritage List on Nov. 30, 2000.

The Longmen Grottoes are 12.5 kilometers away from the southern suburbs of Luoyang in Henan Province, central China, and is between the cliffs of the Longmen Canyon. As Mount Xiang (east) and Mount Longmen (west) face off here and the Yi River flows between the mountains from south to north, it looks like a natural door and was called “Yijue” in ancient times. People began to call it “Longmen” after Luoyang was established during the Sui Dynasty because the city gate of Luoyang was facing the “Yijue.” The Longmen Grottoes cover the one-kilometer-long precipices on the both sides of Yi River.

Statistics from the Research Institute of the Longmen Grottoes show that they have a total of 2,345 niches for Buddha, more than 2,800 inscriptions, more than 40 Buddhist pagodas and more than 100,000 statues in the more than 2,100 caves. The biggest Buddhist statue is more than 17.1 meters high while the smallest is only two centimeters high. The Longmen Grottoes along with the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang in Gansu Province, as well as the Yungang Grottoes in Datong of Shanxi Province are considered as the three treasure houses of China’s ancient Buddhist grotto art and have a very high historical value and artistic value. The beautiful and wonderful workmanship of Buddhist statues in the Longmen Grottoes fully reflect the wisdom and skills of laborers in ancient China.

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