Longmen Grottoes- Buddhist Testament
The Longmen Caves or the Dragon Gates as Chinese people call them is inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000. According to the inscription, the Longmen Grottoes are an illustration of “…the perfection of a long-established art form which was to play a highly significant role in the cultural evolution of this region of Asia.”
The Longmen Caves are 13km south of Luoyang. Take bus 81 from the east side of the Luoyang train station or at the stop just west of the Xuangong Hotel. Alternatively, bus 60 goes to the caves from a stop outside the New
The Longmen Grottoes depict Buddhist subjects and more than 100,000 images and statues of Buddha and his disciples. Caves are located in the two mountains Xiangshams to the east and Longmnesham to the west. In between these two mountains flows the river Yi flowing towards the north and this area is thus known as Yique ie the Gate of the Yi river.
Famous as Buddhist temples or sacred Caves along with Mogao Caves and Yungang Grottoes all these three caves are ancient sculptural sites in China. There are around 2345 caves, depicting Chinese art. Caves depicting the culture and heritage of china have over 2100 niches, more than 100,000 statues, some 40 pagodas, and 3600 tablets and steles in the caves of Guyang, Binyang, and Lianhua.
Sculpturing began in 473 by Wei Dynasty and continued in earnest for four centuries. The three sets of caves – Guyang, Bingyang, and Lianhua are the creations of the Wei dynasty. During the Tang dynasty construction continued to its second peak and in this era, they made the famous construction of a cave shrine, known as Fengxian Si.
However, during the Cultural Revolution in China, the sculptures, carvings, and monuments were damaged by defacement and wreckage. Also, archaeologist and antiquarians send their sculptures to museums and art dealers for private collection. The Sabotage was immense but it has been minimized and it has been renovated and well-labeled in English for the visitors.
The Longmen Caves are 13km south of Luoyang.
There is a train to Luoyang and from there take bus 81 or bus 60 to the caves. The Longmen area is open to the public, and although the grottoes cannot be entered most of the artwork can be seen from the exterior. Standard tickets are 120 RMB. Half-price tickets (60 RMB) are available to Chinese students only. Foreign students may not use student cards to receive a discount.
The Three Binyang Caves carved by Wei have 11 statues of buddha with northern characteristics i.e. long features, thin face, and fishtail robes, with some influence of Greek work. Though carvings during The Tang dynasty are more natural and voluptuous in style.
The cave of ten thousand Buddhas, famously known as Wanfo or Wan Fo Dong, has 15,000 buddhas carved in tiny niches but all differ from each other.
Lianhua I.e. Lotus Flower Cave for lotus is beautifully and splendidly carved and decorated over the rooftop.
Fengxian or Feng Xian Si is also known as Ancestor Worshipping Cave was carved between 672 and 675 for Empress Wu Zetian. The most exquisite and scintillating cave and admired for its culmination of Tang carving. It is the most splendid of all the caves with the monumental shrine having a square plan measuring about 30m (100 feet) on each side. In the center of it is a majestic seated figure of Vairocana Buddha, 17m (56ft) high with 2m-long ears. On his left, is a statue of a Bodhisattva wearing a crown with pearls which gives the effect of a divine general treading an evil spirit underfoot.
Medical Prescription Cave
this cave gives examples of Chinese medicine history and proof of the advancement of its science. It has inscriptions dating from 575; detailing hundreds of cures for everything like the common cold and psychological problems like madness. It’s still used by Chinese medical practitioners.
Guyang, the oldest cave at Longmen, still has some old charisma with the traces of the paint that originally gave enigma to charismatic carvings. In this cave, we can see a central Buddha and three tiers of niches on the north and south sides of the walls, which displays hundreds of statues. The statues have the names of the artists, the dates on which it has been carved, and the explanations for carving them. This also thus becomes a relic of ancient calligraphy nineteen of them are “Twenty Pieces” which are of utmost importance for Chinese history.
Tomb of Bai Juyi. A bridge leading to the east bank for the best view of the caves.
The dragon gate or The Longmen caves is a testimonial to the culture and religion of china of their faith in it. The carvings are a tribute to Lord Buddha and his preachings.
Visitors will be fascinated and amazed when seeing the carvings and the incredible art of that era. Enormous and mighty sculptures will stun you. One of the most unique places to visit in china and compulsive for every Buddhist. These caves reach the pinnacle of old art carvings and sculpturing.