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Saturday, July 09, 2011

N. China - Day 10, Part 2 - Yungang Grottoes

"It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true." - Bertrand Russell

***

N. China
Day 10 - 8th November - Yungang Grottoes
(Part 2)

There's another set of famous Buddhist grottoes (which are also UNESCO-listed) in China - the Longmen Grottoes (Mogao is called "Mogao Caves" for some reason, it's in Gansu along the Silk Road so it's less accessible and it's more famous for the paintings and murals than statues). However Longmen, being more accessible, got damaged during the Cultural Revolution.

For some reason the stuff the Taoists did in caves isn't as famous. Apparently they're places of meditation, but somehow the traces of their activities aren't so famous.

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"古千視高" (Far Vision Through The Ages [?])

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Entrance to the cave area

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Some words

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Ceremonial gatewy to the caves

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Cave 1, 471-494AD

Cave 2 was quite big, so you could go in and get close to the statues (you couldn't in most of them).

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Cave 2 complex

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An empty alcove

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Buddha. From previous knowledge the holes were used to hang accoutrements like jewelry (long since vanished)

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Another view of the Buddha

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Cave 2 Buddha stitch

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Cave 3, "originally the biggest cave at Yungang" (?!), 471-494 AD
I suspect some translation error, since it certainly wasn't the biggest cave

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Wooden buildings built to front Caves 5 and 6 - the most impressive (and most colourful) caves

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Eaves of the building

Photography was not allowed inside Caves 5 and 6 (because they were probably the nicest, with the most colours - most of the caves lacked colour). So I took photos from outside.

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Cave 5 wall painting

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Cave 5 Buddha's folded hands (it was just the Buddha inside)
The Buddha inside was huge (17m). Everything isde was 5th century, even the ceiling.

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Cave 6. This one had a group of carvings in the centre, and you could walk around it and view all sides (as well as the carvings on the cave wall)

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Statue and painting on left side of outer chamber of Cave 6

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Statue and painting on right side of outer chamber of Cave 6

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Cave 7. It and Cave 8 "are the earliest caves at Yungang" (though Wikipedia informs us that Caves 16-20 were finished by 465 AD). It was still dated to 471-494 AD though.

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Roof of Cave 7

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Cave 8

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Cave 8, 471-494 AD


Oddly the UK guy said his colleagues didn't complain about the air quality in Hong Kong.
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