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Encyclopedia > Mogao Caves
Mogao Caves*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party China
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi
Reference 440
Region Asia-Pacific
Inscription History
Inscription 1987  (11th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
† Region as classified by UNESCO.

The Mogao Caves, or Mogao Grottoes (Chinese: 莫高窟; Pinyin: mò gāo kū) form a system of 492 temples 25km (15.5 miles) from the center of Dunhuang, in Gansu province, China. They are also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, Qianfodong (Chinese: 千佛洞; Pinyin: qiān fó dòng) [1], or the Dunhuang Caves. The use of the word "cave" is a bit of a misnomer, since these are not natural, but instead examples of rock-cut architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1360x1020, 388 KB) Summary Mogao Caves This image was take by User:Yaohua2000 at 2006-04-24 07:01:05 UTC. Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Mogao Caves Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... As of 2006, there are a total of 830 World Heritage Sites located in 138 State Parties. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_Peoples_Republic_of_China. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... This is a list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia, Australia and the Pacific (Australasia). ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Location of Dunhuang Dunhuang (Chinese: , also written as 燉煌 till early Qing Dynasty; Pinyin: ) is a city in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China. ... Gansu (Simplified Chinese: 甘肃; Traditional Chinese: 甘肅; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kan-su, Kansu, or Kan-suh) is a province located in the northwest of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Rock cut architecture refers to the practice of creating buildings, temples, etc. ...

Contents

History

Local legend says that in 366 CE the Buddhist monk Lezun (樂尊) had a vision of a thousand Buddhas and convinced a wealthy Silk Road pilgrim to fund the first of the temples. The temples eventually grew to number more than a thousand. From the 4th until the 14th century, Buddhist monks at Dunhuang collected scriptures from the west, and many pilgrims passed through the area, painting murals inside the caves. The murals cover 450,000 square feet (42,000 m²). The caves were walled off sometime around the 11th century, after they had become a dumping ground for old, damaged or used manuscripts; the documents were still sacred, and it has been suggested that: Events January 2, Alamanni cross frozen Rhine in large numbers, invading Roman Empire October 1 - Pope Damasus I becomes Bishop of Rome. ... Media:Example. ... The Silk Road Silk Route redirects here. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 4th century was that century which lasted from 301 to 400. ... This 14th-century statue from south India depicts the gods Shiva (on the left) and Uma (on the right). ... A replica of an ancient statue found among the ruins of a temple at Sarnath Buddhism is a philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, a prince of the Shakyas, whose lifetime is traditionally given as 566 to 486 BCE. It had subsequently been accepted by... Monument to pilgrims in Burgos, Spain This article is on religious pilgrims. ... Salle des illustres, ceiling painting, by Jean André Rixens. ...

The most probable reason for such a huge accumulation of waste is that, when the printing of books became widespread in the tenth century, the handwritten manuscripts of the Tripitaka at the monastic libraries must have been replaced by books of a new type — the printed Tripitaka. Consequently, the discarded manuscripts found their way to the sacred waste-pile, where torn scrolls from old times as well as a bulk of manuscripts in Tibetan had been stored. All we can say for certain is that he came from the Wu family, because the compound of the three-storied cave temples, Nos. 16-18 and 365-6, is known to have been built and kept by the Wu family, of which the mid-ninth century Bishop of Tun-Huan, Hung-pien, was a member.
 
— Fujieda Akira, "The Tun-Huan Manuscripts"

The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes, and along with Longmen and Yungang are one of the three famous ancient sculptural sites of China. The Tripitaka (Sanskrit त्रिपिटक, lit. ... The Longmen Grottoes (ch. ... Categories: Chinese Buddhist Grottoes | World Heritage Sites in China | Stub ...

The travel of Zhang Qian to the West, Mogao caves, 618-712 CE.
The travel of Zhang Qian to the West, Mogao caves, 618-712 CE.

Buddhist monks valued austerity in life, and they hoped that remote caves would aid their quest for enlightenment. The paintings served as aids to meditation, as visual representations of their quest for enlightenment, and as tools to inform illiterate Chinese about Buddhist beliefs and stories. The travel of Zhang Qian to the West. ... The travel of Zhang Qian to the West. ... Zhang Qian (張騫) was an imperial envoy in the 2nd century BCE, during the time of the Han Dynasty. ... Bodhi (Pali and Sanskrit. ... A large statue in Bangalore depicting Shiva meditating Meditation describes a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. ...

A complete view of the painting.
A complete view of the painting.

Around 1900, a Chinese Taoist named Wang Yuan-lu appointed himself guardian of some of these temples. Wang discovered walled up behind one side of a corridor leading to a main cave a small cave which was stuffed with an enormous hoard of manuscripts (all dating from between 406 and 1002 CE: old Chinese hemp paper scrolls, old Tibetan scrolls, paintings on hemp or silk or paper, many damaged figurines of Buddhas, and other Buddhist paraphernalia. The subject matter is diverse: the expected Buddhist canonical works are joined by original commentaries, apocryphal works, workbooks, books of prayers, Confucian works, Taoist works, Nestorian Christian works, works from the Chinese government, administrative documents, anthologies, glossaries, dictionaries, calligraphic exercises etc. Image File history File links DunhuangCave323. ... Image File history File links DunhuangCave323. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ... Categories: Religion stubs | Taoists ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Tibet (older spelling Thibet; Tibetan: བོད་; Wylie: Bod; Lhasa dialect IPA: [; Simplified and Traditional Chinese: 西藏, Hanyu Pinyin: XÄ«zàng; also referred to as 藏区 (Simplified Chinese), 藏區 (Traditional Chinese), ZàngqÅ« (Hanyu Pinyin), see Name section below) is a plateau region in Central Asia and the indigenous home to the Tibetan people. ... Apocrypha (from the Greek word απόκρυφα meaning those having been hidden away[1]) are texts of uncertain authenticity or writings where the authorship is questioned. ... Confucianism (儒家 Pinyin: rújiā The School of the Scholars), sometimes translated as the School of Literati, is an East Asian ethical, religious and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of Confucius. ... The term Nestorianism is eponymous, even though the person who lent his name to it always denied the associated belief. ...


Rumors of this discovery brought several European expeditions by 1910: a joint British/Indian group led by Aurel Stein (who took hundreds of copies of the Diamond Sutra because he was unable to read Chinese); a French expedition under Paul Pelliot; a Japanese expedition under Otani Kozui which arrived after the Chinese government's forces; and a Russian expedition under Sergei F. Oldenburg which garnered the least of all. Pelloit was interested in the more unusual and exotic of Wang's manuscripts, such as documents dealing with the administration and financing of the monastery and associated lay men's groups which survived only because they formed a sort of palimpsest in which Buddhist texts (which were why they were preserved) were written on the other side of the paper. The remaining Chinese manuscripts were sent to Peking (Beijing) at the order of the Chinese government (the mass of Tibetan manuscripts remained). Sir M(arc) Aurel Stein (1862 - 1943), born in Budapest, was a Hungarian Jewish archaeologist who became a British citizen. ... The Chinese Diamond Sutra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty, i. ... Pelliot examines manuscripts in the Mogao Caves Paul Pelliot (May 28, 1878–October 26, 1945) was a French sinologist and explorer of Central Asia. ... A palimpsest is a manuscript page, scroll, or book that has been written on, scraped off, and used again. ... Beijing (Chinese: 北京; pinyin: BÄ›ijÄ«ng; IPA: ;  ), a metropolis in northern China, is the capital of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). ...


Wang embarked on an ambitious refurbishment of the temples, funded in part by soliciting donations from neighboring towns, and in part by donations from Stein and Pelliot.


Today, the site is an important tourist attraction and the subject of an ongoing archaeological project.


The Mogao Caves became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ... Elabana Falls is in Lamington National Park, part of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves World Heritage site in Queensland, Australia. ... Year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar). ...

Notice to Visitors
Notice to Visitors
A close-up of the fresco describing Emperor Han Wudi (156 – 87 BCE) worshipping two statues of the Buddha, Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, c. 700 CE.
A close-up of the fresco describing Emperor Han Wudi (156 – 87 BCE) worshipping two statues of the Buddha, Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, c. 700 CE.

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1360x1020, 380 KB) Summary Mogao Caves Notice to Visitors This image was taken by User:Yaohua2000 at 2006-04-24 06:56:50 UTC. Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Mogao Caves Metadata This file contains additional... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1360x1020, 380 KB) Summary Mogao Caves Notice to Visitors This image was taken by User:Yaohua2000 at 2006-04-24 06:56:50 UTC. Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Mogao Caves Metadata This file contains additional... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (643x974, 578 KB)8th century frescoe at Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in the Tarim Basin. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (643x974, 578 KB)8th century frescoe at Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in the Tarim Basin. ... Emperor Wu of Han (156 BC*–March 29, 87 BC), personal name Liu Che, was the sixth emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty, ruling from 141 BC to 87 BC. A military compaigner, Han China reached its greatest expansion under his reign, spanning from Kyrgyzstan in the west, Northern... Media:Example. ... Location of Dunhuang Dunhuang (Chinese: , also written as 燉煌 till early Qing Dynasty; Pinyin: ) is a city in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China. ...

Mogao Caves in popular culture

Yasushi Inoue (井上 靖 Inoue Yasushi, May 6, 1907 – January 29, 1992) was a Japanese writer whose range of genres included poetry, essays, short fiction, and novels. ... This page is about the development of animation and comic industry in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. ... A Deer of Nine Colors (Chinese: 九色鹿) is a Chinese animated film produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio. ... Barbara Wright is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and a companion of the First Doctor. ... Doctor Who is a long-running award-winning British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The series depicts the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known as the Doctor who explores time and space in his TARDIS time ship with his companions, solving problems and righting wrongs. ... Marco Polo is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in 7 weekly parts from February 22 to April 4, 1964. ...

See also

Shakyamuni Buddha teaching. ... The Jesus Sutras, or the Lost Sutras of Jesus are early Chinese language manuscripts of Christian teachings brought to China during the 7th century by Alopen, a Persian bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East. ... Rock cut architecture refers to the practice of creating buildings, temples, etc. ...

References

  • Akira, Fujieda, "The Tun-Huan Manuscripts", in Essays on the sources for Chinese history (1973). edited by Donald D. Leslie, Colin Mackerras, and Wang Gungwu. Australian National University, ISBN 0-87249-329-6
  • Hopkirk, Peter. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia (1980). Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 0-87023-435-8.

The Australian National University, or ANU, is a public university located in Canberra, the national capital of Australia. ...

Gallery

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Mogao Caves
  • Introduction of the arts (mostly Buddhist arts) of the Mogao Caves with images
  • A large collections of images of murals and other artifacts from the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang
  • International Dunhuang Project
  • Travel China Guide: Dunhuang Caves

  Results from FactBites:
 
Mogao Caves - an introduction to its founding, functions, development & history with information on cave design, ... (2182 words)
These are the bare facts: the Mogao cave complex is comprised of 492 caves, containing 450,000 square feet of murals dating from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries - a period which corresponds to an immense growth in international commerce along the nearby Silk Road.
The caves were abandoned in the fourteenth century and lay untouched until the beginning of the twentieth century.
Among the inscriptions for the donors in both the Mogao and Yulin grottoes are: "Painted by the artisans of the first department of the Military Command"; "Painters under the Military Command"; "Calligraphers of First and Second departments of the Military Command"; "Officer in-charge of engraving" and "Officer in charge of cave-cutting".
Silkroad Foundation - Dunhuang Studies (766 words)
Particularly, the Mogao Caves, which are located in the gobi-desert 25 kilometers away from the city, consist of 492 caves with 25000 square meters wall paintings and more than 3000 painted sculptures.
The architectural structure and painting themes of these caves are similar to that of the Mogao caves, reflecting the close relationship of the two cave-sites.
Since these caves are located relatively far away from Dunhuang, their patrons and functions may differ from that of the Mogao caves.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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