Dunhuang Mogao Grottos, China

China Travel Tour Guide - information about China cities, attractions, chinese culture, travel tips and much more.


> China Travel Tour Guide > Attractions

Dunhuang Mogao Grottos

The Mogao Grottos is also called the Dunhuang Grottos or the Thousand-Buddha Grottos of Dunhuang. It lies at the foot of the Mingsha hill, 25 km away from Dunhuang, Gansu Province.

As the location belongs to Mogao Country, they get the name Mogao Grottos as a whole. In China, it is one of the three famous rock grottos and regarded as a storehouse of the Buddhist art in the world.

The Thousand-Buddha Grottos in Mogao were built in the year of Jianyuan II, in Later Qin Dynasty (336 AD), spreading to three to four stories in the cliff wall of the Mingsha hill.

The grottos each measures 1,600 meters long and 50 meters high close-packed like the beehive. There are 492 grottos in the 1,000 years old murals and colored statues which were completed in different period such as the South and the North Dynasties, Sui, Tang, the Five Dynasties, Song, West Xia or Yuan Dynasty.

The area of the murals add up to more than 45,000 square meters and over 2,000 colored statues. The grottos vary in size and the statues differ in height.

Big statues look grand and small ones look delicate. All these murals and statues reveal the excellent mastery of art and the rich imagination.

The colorful painting world of the Mogao Grottos shows to the world that its characteristic originated not only from the Chinese style, it absorbed the goodness from arts of ancient India, Greece and Iran. Therefore, it is a shining pearl of mixture of eastern and western arts.

Especially, some Buddhist story paintings are so vivid and beautiful. For example, the stories about the whole life of Sakyamuni, and about his goodies and contributing his moral efforts to others.

In addition, murals of Buddha, Bodhisattva, kings of the paradise, mighty fighters, minor thousand-Buddha, and flying Buddhist angels, with the background of mountains and rivers, beatify the mystic grottos into an Buddhist world with wind blowing and clouds floating.

In fact, the Mogao Grottos value themselves more than art as most murals reflect the lives of those times. For example, there is a mural showing a scene of robbers robbing a foreign businessman. This picture has revealed the contact between China and the world.

From the paintings, it is easy to learn that music and dancing played important roles in people's life at that time. In addition, different nationalities clothing, man and woman, old and young, are all presented in the pictures.

The Dunhuang Grottos also store many scriptures, documents, and books, which are valuable to supplement or revise the antique literature. The colorful murals inside the Grottos provide precious historical information to study politics, economy, military actions, culture, art, religion, science, national history, foreign affairs, and cultural contact of ancient China. Therefore, coming to this barren land does not just mean to appreciate the ancient paintings.

That's why the Mogao Grottos have always been a wonderful attraction to tourist around the world for many years.