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Maiji Mountain Grottoes: 'Oriental Statues Exhibition Hall'

People's Daily Online)  08:17, November 15, 2012

Photo shows the view of Maiji Mountain Grottoes lying in the side of the hill of Maiji Mountain in Tianshui, northwest China's Gansu province. (

Edited and translated by Ye Xin, People's Daily Online

The Maiji Mountain Grottoes are a series of 194 caves cut in the side of the hill of Maiji Mountain in Tianshui, northwest China's Gansu province.

Maiji Mountain is a green and graceful peak in the western part of the grand Qinling Range. The grottoes were cut during a period of 1,500 years, from the Later Qin Dynasty (384-417) until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). During an earthquake in the seventh century, the cliff broke in two and the grottoes were thus divided into east and west sections. The 194 remaining grottoes today contain 7,200 clay and stone statues and 1,300 square meters of mural paintings.

These statues are works of art that reflect ancient craftsmanship and dedication to the Buddhist ideal. Rarely can one find caves and statues carved over sheer cliffs in China, and this is one of the most distinguishing features of Maiji Caves. Being carved on the cliff, these caves are connected by plank roads that hang precariously along the face of the cliff. Visitors can only reach each cave by using these plank roads, which offers a breathtaking experience.

Located 45 kilometers southeast of Tianshui in Gansu province, Maiji Mountain rises up abruptly 142 meters from the landscape. The local people named the mountain 'Maiji' because it resembles a stack of wheat straw (mai meaning wheat, and ji meaning stack).

Classified as an 'Oriental Statues Exhibition Hall', Maiji Caves are one of the four most important caves in China.

Travel tips:

- Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

- Admission: 70 yuan (Discounts available for senior citizens over 60, soldiers and students)

- Tel: +86-93-86811864

- How to get there: Take Bus No. 34 from Maiji District Railway Station to Maiji Mountain

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