Henan Grottos Temple, China

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Grottos Temple

Closely leaning the Mangshan Mountain and against the Yiluo River, the Grottos Temple lies in the Siwan Village at the foot of the Dali Mountain northeast about 8 km of the Gongyi city in Henan Province.

With beautiful mountains and rivers, it is a famous place of interests' area from ancient times and it was listed in Chinese emphatic preservation places of cultural relics in 1982.

Built in the 2nd Year of Xiping in North Wei Dynasty (in 517). At that time people called it "Xixuan Temple" and changed to "all directions Pure Land Temple" in Song Dynasty, later in Qing Dynasty it was changed to "the Grottos Temple".

The Buddha was started to carve from the very beginning of building the temple, experiencing East Wei Dynasty, West Wei Dynasty, North Qi Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty.

There are 5 grottos existed now and 256 shrines for idols or ancestral tablets for worshipped Buddha and 7,743 Buddha altogether which is the grand and magnificent stone carved crowds in the middle China.

Except the 5th grotto, the shapes of other grottos are all square. Each grotto has a central pillar, around the pillars the statues of Buddha and Bodhisattva are carved on the stone walls around, the usual model is a Buddha with two disciples and two Bodhisattva standing left and right sides.

The faces of the Buddha are mostly square, round with kind eyes, the posture is generous, and the clothing lines are very clear. Among them, "the Emperor and Empress Buddha Painting" had 18 paintings previously and exists 15 now, the figure is multitudinous and the scene is lively and it is an important statue with stories in stone-carved crowds.

There are three layers in these stone-carved crowds, the east is man headed by emperor and the west is woman headed by the empress. The monk and nun are as the ranks respectively, some are waiting to help the emperor and empress put on and off clothes, some are holding props and umbrellas nearby and some are holding the sacrifice utensils for worshipping Buddha.

With so many attendants crowding around, it shows the scene that the emperor went out to worship the Buddha and god at that time. The technology of carving is the most superb and the composition is vivid, if the craftsman master has not the sculpture ability for many years, it is impossible for him to carve this vivid and fine works.

Including the fine stone statues in the Grottos Temple, since the environment leans mountains and against rivers and the scenery is very beautiful, it praised with "the place of interests with streams, mist, rocks and clouds". It means, that the stone carving Buddha and Bodhisattva they are with clouds flying on the Mangshan Mountain and mist on the Yiluo River. The scenery is elegant like wonderland and it is the reason why it has attracted so many visitors since ancient times.