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Tuesday, October 15, 2019
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Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, located at southeast of Dunhuang city, were first constructed in Former Qin Dynasty. It reached more than 1,000 caves till Tang Dynasty and was constantly built up the following 1,000 years till Qing Dynasty. Now more than 2,400 painted sculptures and more than 50,000 square meters frescos of past dynasties are saved in the 492 existing caves. If they are connected together, that will form a magnificent gallery of 25 km.

Dunhuang joss, all painted sculptures made of mud, are divided into single and groups ones, and have vivid shapes and different presence with the tallest to 33 m and shortest to 0.1 m only.

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes are the caves that have the most frescos in the world, and Dunhuang frescos are the main part of Dunhuang art. With a grand scale and rich contents, Dunhuang frescos can be mainly grouped under four heads which are:
  • Joss Paintings, the main body of frescos, refer to huge paintings which organize the central matter of Sutra to a complete story with clear arrangements. include different kinds of Joss and Bodhisattva, among which the image of the flying god with a pretty and dancing posture is even more memorable.
  • Paintings of Folk
  • Tradition and Myth
  • Dependents Portraits paintings, refer to the portraits of dependents who were Buddhist believers and financed construction of caves, and the portraits of their families and servants.

In Dunhuang's 492 grottoes, almost every one of them has flying gods. Flying gods in early caves are stocky with a big mouth and big ears, which is evidently influenced by the flying gods in the Indic and Western Region. However, the artistic image since Tang Dynasty has completely had the Chinese style, which is without wings and feathers but with flyaway dress and colored ribbons.

The tint of Dunhuang frescos is magnificent and colorful but not vulgar. With stone green, azurite and vermilion, etc. As its main colors, it still keeps its original flamboyant and clear beauty after thousands of years because of mineral colors strong steability.

Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes are the most majestic and well preserved mine of Buddhism art in the world till now and was included into the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

In 2000, the large-scale dance drama Dream of Dunhuang, created on the base of Dunhuang Frescos, was shown in Beijing.

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