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World Cultural Heritage: Longmen Grottoes (3)


15:22, July 09, 2013

Therefore, they are also the precious records of the integration of traditional Chinese culture and extra-territorial civilizations. In addition, the Longmen Grottoes also contain rich statue inscriptions including 19 works out of the well-known “20 works of Longmen.” People began to construct the Binyang Grotto in the year 500 during the reign of Xuanwu of the Wei Dynasty and it took 24 years to complete. This is the grotto that took the longest to finish. There are 11 big Buddhist statues in the Binyang Grotto and the main statue of Sakyamuni has a high nose and big eyes, and its posture is proper and serene. It is a masterpiece of the stone carving art during the middle period of the Northern Wei Dynasty. The statues in grottoes typically reflect the historical conditions of the entire Northern Wei Dynasty worshipping Buddhism.

Most grottoes from the Tang Dynasty were constructed at the beginning of the reign of Empress Wu Zetian which is related to her long-term residence in Luoyang. The Fengxian Grotto, which took four years to construct, is the largest grotto among the Longmen Grottoes. The majestic art statue group of the Locana Buddha is the most famous among the main grottoes from the Tang Dynasty. The total height of the Locana Buddha statue is more than 17.1 meters. The head of the Locana Buddha statue is four meters high and its ears are 1.9 meters long. It is the largest Buddha statue in the Longmen Grottoes. The statue has a plump face and comely eyes.

The Buddha lifts the corners of his mouth and slightly lowers his head like a wise and kindly middle-aged woman, demanding respect but not fear. The entire statue group of the Fengxian Grotto is a perfect artistic work. There are also statues of Ananda, Kasyapas, disciples of Locana Buddha, and the Retinue Buddha, as well as vajra and the four deva-kings standing beside the statue of the Locana Buddha. Such a statue group is organically combined to form an entire artistic work and perfectly reflects the atmosphere of Buddhism.

The Longmen Grottoes have preserved a large number of historical materials in many aspects such as religion, art, calligraphy, music, clothing, medicine, architecture, and Chinese-foreign traffic. Therefore, it is considered as a large-scale museum of stone carving art. The Longmen Grottoes art also provided a large number of valuable materials for the research of ancient Chinese history, especially in aspects of sculpture, painting, calligraphy, architecture, costumes, music and dance, design patterns, and social climate in those periods.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiQian、Ye Xin)

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