The Tianlongshan Grottoes (Chinese: 天龙山石窟, pinyin: Tiānlóngshān Shíkū, English translation: Mountain of the Heavenly Dragon) are caves located in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China, that are notable for the Buddhist temples located within them. The temple complex spans two mountains: there are eight grottoes on the eastern mountain and 13 on the western mountain. The complex was constructed over a number of centuries, from the northern Qi dynasty until the Tang dynasty, and contains Buddhist art of high historic importance. The majority of the caves date to the Tang dynasty.The caves have been designated by the government as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level.
Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.
Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.
A number of works of Buddhist sculpture survived in the caves, including over 1,500 statues and 1,144 reliefs sculptures.Many of the sculptures are of painted stone. The subject matter includes images of Buddha and bodhisattvas. The caves' Tang sculptures are noted for their soft modeling, sensuous drapery, and naturalism. A connection to the Gandhara style of Buddhist sculpture has been proposed.
In the 1920s, a number of the sculptures were removed and sold to collectors abroad.In particular, the publication by Japanese art dealer Yamanaka Sadajirō of a book on the caves' contents led to a sharp increase in collector interest. For this reason, many sculptures originating from Tianlongshan are currently housed in foreign museums.
Yamanaka Sadajirō was an Osaka, Japan-based art dealer who arrived in the United States in 1894, opening a small antique shop in Chelsea, New York City. He subsequently founded Yamanaka & Company, which in 1917 took over a five-story building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Yamanaka operated branch offices in Boston, Chicago, London, Paris, Shanghai and Beijing, and negotiated purchases and provided expertise, while making foundational donations, to Japanese and Chinese collections in major European and American galleries in the early- to mid-20th Century.
The Tianlongshan Grottoes exist today in a damaged state in Taiyuan with so many of the sculptures now missing, that visitors to the caves cannot imagine how they looked in the past. Many of the sculptures from the caves are now in museums around the world. Researchers at the University of Chicago initiated the Tianlongshan Caves Project in 2013 to pursue research and digital imaging of the caves and their sculptures. The Project seeks to record and archive the sculptures and to compile data that can identify the fragments and their places of origin.
Rock-cut architecture is the creation of structures, buildings, and sculptures by excavating solid rock where it naturally occurs. Rock-cut architecture is designed and made by man from the start to finish. In India and China, the terms 'cave' and 'cavern' are often applied to this form of man-made architecture. However, caves and caverns, that began in natural form, are not considered to be 'rock-cut architecture' even if extensively modified. Although rock-cut structures differ from traditionally built structures in many ways, many rock-cut structures are made to replicate the facade or interior of traditional architectural forms. Interiors were usually carved out by starting at the roof of the planned space and then working downward. This technique prevents stones falling on workers below. The three main uses of rock-cut architecture were temples, tombs and cave dwellings.
The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes or Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, form a system of 492 temples 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves may also be known as the Dunhuang Caves; however, this term is also used as a collective term to include other Buddhist cave sites in and around the Dunhuang area, such as the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, Eastern Thousand Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves, and Five Temple Caves. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out in AD 366 as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in Northern China. It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. Throughout its long history, Taiyuan was the capital or provisional capital of many dynasties in China, hence the name Lóngchéng.
The Seokguram Grotto is a hermitage and part of the Bulguksa temple complex. It lies four kilometers east of the temple on Mt. Tohamsan, in Gyeongju, South Korea. It is classified as National Treasure No. 24 by the South Korean government and is located at 994, Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsanbuk-do. The grotto overlooks the East Sea and rests 750 meters above sea level. In 1962, it was designated the 24th national treasure of Korea. In 1995, Seokguram was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Bulguksa Temple. It exemplifies some of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world.
The Longmen Grottoes or Longmen Caves are some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of present-day Luoyang in Henan province, China. The images, many once painted, were carved as outside rock reliefs and inside artificial caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan (香山) and Longmenshan, running east and west. The Yi River flows northward between them and the area used to be called Yique. The alternative name of "Dragon's Gate Grottoes" derives from the resemblance of the two hills that check the flow of the Yi River to the typical "Chinese gate towers" that once marked the entrance to Luoyang from the south. There are as many as 100,000 statues within the 2,345 caves, ranging from 1 inch (25 mm) to 57 feet (17 m) in height. The area also contains nearly 2,500 stelae and inscriptions, hence the name “Forest of Ancient Stelae", as well as over sixty Buddhist pagodas. Situated in a scenic natural environment, the caves were dug from a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) stretch of cliff running along both banks of the river. 30% date from the Northern Wei and 60% from the Tang dynasty, caves from other periods accounting for less than 10% of the total. Starting with the Northern Wei Dynasty in 493 AD, patrons and donors included emperors, Wu Zetian, members of the royal family, other rich families, generals, and religious groups.
The Yungang Grottoes, formerly the Wuzhoushan Grottoes, are ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes near the city of Datong in the province of Shanxi. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and one of the three most famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China. The others are Longmen and Mogao.
The Kizil Caves are a set of Buddhist rock-cut caves located near Kizil Township in Baicheng County, Xinjiang, China. The site is located on the northern bank of the Muzat River 65 kilometres west of Kucha. This area was a commercial hub of the Silk Road. The caves are said to be the earliest major Buddhist cave complex in China, with development occurring between the 3rd and 8th centuries.
The Dazu Rock Carvings are a series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings located in Dazu District, Chongqing, China. The carvings date back as far as the 7th century AD, depicting and influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist beliefs. Some are in rock-cut cave shrines, in the usual Chinese Buddhist style, but many others are rock reliefs carved into the open rock faces.
The history of Asian art or Eastern art, includes a vast range of influences from various cultures and religions. Developments in Asian art historically parallel those in Western art, in general a few centuries earlier. Chinese art, Indian art, Korean art, Japanese art, each had significant influence on Western art, and, vice versa. Near Eastern art also had a significant influence on Western art. Excluding prehistoric art, the art of Mesopotamia represents the oldest forms of Asian art.
Lingyin Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Chan sect located north-west of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. The temple's name is commonly literally translated as Temple of the Soul's Retreat. It is one of the largest and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China, and contains numerous pagodas and Buddhist grottoes.
The Bingling Temple is a series of grottoes filled with Buddhist sculpture carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River. It lies just north of where the Yellow River empties into the Liujiaxia Reservoir. Administratively, the site is in Yongjing County of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, some 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Lanzhou.
The Thousand Buddha Mountain is a hill located southeast of the city of Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, China. It is renowned for its numerous Buddha images which have been carved out of the hill's rock faces or free-standing structures erect since the times of the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and its Xingguochan Temple.
Buddhist art is the artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. It includes art media which depict Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other entities; notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical; narrative scenes from the lives of all of these; mandalas and other graphic aids to practice; as well as physical objects associated with Buddhist practice, such as vajras, bells, stupas and Buddhist temple architecture. Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Siddhartha Gautama, 6th to 5th century BCE, and thereafter evolved by contact with other cultures as it spread throughout Asia and the world.
Korean Buddhist sculpture is one of the major areas of Korean art. Some of the finest and most technically accomplished Buddhist sculpture in East Asia and World were produced in Korea.
The Shuanglin Temple is a large Buddhist temple in the Shanxi Province of China. It is situated in the countryside of Qiaotou village about 6–7 kilometres (3.7–4.3 mi) southwest of the ancient city of Pingyao. It is among the many cultural monuments located in the Pingyao, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site inscribed in 1997. The temple is protected by the state administration.
The Maijishan Grottoes, formerly romanized as Maichishan, are a series of 194 caves cut in the side of the hill of Majishan in Tianshui, Gansu Province, northwest China.
Foguang Temple is a Buddhist temple located five kilometres from Doucun, Wutai County, Shanxi Province of China. The major hall of the temple is the Great East Hall, built in 857 AD, during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). According to architectural records, it is the third earliest preserved timber structure in China. It was rediscovered by the 20th-century architectural historian Liang Sicheng (1901–1972) in 1937, while an older hall at Nanchan Temple was discovered by the same team a year later. The temple also contains another significant hall dating from 1137 called the Manjusri Hall. In addition, the second oldest existing pagoda in China, dating from the 6th century, is located in the temple grounds. Today the temple is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and is undergoing restoration.
Nanchan Temple is a Buddhist temple located near the town of Doucun on Wutaishan, Shanxi Province, China. Nanchan Temple was built in 782 during China's Tang dynasty, and its Great Buddha Hall is currently China's oldest preserved timber building extant, as wooden buildings are often prone to fire and various destructions. Not only is Nanchan Temple an important architectural site, but it also contains an original set of artistically-important Tang sculptures dating from the period of its construction. Seventeen sculptures share the hall's interior space with a small stone pagoda.
Qixia Temple is a Buddhist temple located on Qixia Mountain in the suburban Qixia District of Nanjing, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China, 22 kilometres (14 mi) northeast of downtown Nanjing. It is one of Nanjing's most important Buddhist monasteries. The temple is the cradle of East Asian Mādhyamaka.
Chinese Buddhist sculpture has been produced throughout the history of Buddhism in China. Sculptural pieces include representations of Siddhartha Gautama, often known as the "Enlightened One" or "Buddha", Bodhisattvas, monks and various deities. China was introduced to the teachings of Buddhism as early as the 2nd century BCE, during China's Han Dynasty, becoming more established during the 2nd century CE. The earliest representations did not start as sculptures of the human form, but rather an empty seat, footprint, tree or stupa, an architectural form eventually inspiring the creation of pagodas in China.
Shanxi architecture, or Shansi architecture, or Jin architecture, refers to the architectural style of the Shanxi province in northern China. Shanxi has preserved numerous ancient architectures scattered throughout the province. All of the four remaining wooden structures preserved from Tang dynasty in China are found in Shanxi. The old buildings of Pingyao ancient city and numerous family compounds of Shanxi merchants in the Ming and Qing dynasties are representative of the architecture styles of vernacular architecture in North China. Religious temples in Mount Wutai and Yungang Grottoes in Datong exemplify the sacred buddhist architecture in China.