Asian art

Yungang Grottoes

Yungang Grottoes

In the ancient period, the Yungang Grottoes was known as Wuzhoushan Grottoes which are located about 16 km west of the city of Datong in the Shanxi province. These grottoes are carved at the base of the Wuzhou Shan Mountains in the valley of the Shi River. Like other grottoes, Yungang grottoes are also excellent examples of rock-cut architecture. It is believed that the antique Buddha statues and cave itself were built at 5th and 6th centuries. Regarding the number of the caves, there are 53 major caves along with 1100 minor caves and 51,00 niches which house the same number of Buddha statues.

Brief History and statues of Yungang Grottoes

Brief History and statues of Yungang Grottoes

When the Northern Wei Dynasty controlled the northern parts of China, after the decline of the Jin Dynasty, they made the city of Pingcheng, present day - Datong, as their capital. Therefore the construction work was increased a lot. As it is written that Northern Wei Dynasty adopted Buddhism as their state religion, gradually Buddhism was spread to surrounding as well. The Northern Wei Dynasty had a chance to know about the Buddhism only because of the North Silk Road, the northernmost route of about 2600 km in the length. This road connects the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia. It is recorded that the site was completed in three successive phases.

We have lovely pieces of Buddha statues in our catalog

The first phase was started at around 460 CE and lasted till the year 465 CE. The construction of the second phase was started at around the year 471 CE and lasted till 494 CE. In the second phase, the twin caves 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10 and also the caves which were numbered as the caves 11, 13, 14 were constructed under supervision and support of the imperial court. This phase of construction of the Yungang Grottoes is also called the golden stage of the Yungang Grottoes. The construction of the third phase was supported by private patronage. The construction period of the third phase lasted until 525. The caves that were constructed during the third phase were mainly done in the west of cave 10, 4, 14, 15 and 11. The caves 16-20 is known as the Tan Yao Cave.

The Yungang Grottoes can be divided into three parts - eastern, central, western- according to the placement of the Grotto. The eastern one is focused mainly on the building builds in the pagoda style of architecture. This part was built earlier than the other parts. The middle part has a chamber- front and rear- with Buddha statue in the middle of the hall. The walls and the ceilings of the grottoes are filled with relief and murals as well. The last one, western part houses medium and small sized grottoes with the statues placed inside it. The statues placed inside of these grottoes vary in size- tallest 17 m to shortest few centimeters in height. Some of the statues found in these grottoes still have their original colors and the statue has the graceful facial expression with bright piercing eyes.

Deterioration

grotte-di-yungang

Yungang Grottoes has been there for more than 1500 yrs. From the day of its construction, many of the grottoes are exposed to the open air. Therefore, the site is open to vulnerable to various forms of pollution from the industrial city of Datong and deterioration as well. It is not to forget that the site is also near to the Gobi Desert, hence the storms from the deserts can damage the statues to some extent. Therefore the cave was preserved and repaired at several times. During Liao Dynasty, the caves were renewed and at the same time 10 temples of Yungang was also build from 1049-1060 CE. The main purpose of the construction was to protect the main caves. But the temples were destroyed due to fire after 60 yrs. of construction.

Alongside of the conservation of the Yungang Grottoes, the sites was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. As UNESCO mentions, the site is a masterpiece of early Chinese Buddhist cave art and these arts represents the successful fusion of Buddhist religious symbolic art from south and central Asia with Chinese cultural traditions.

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Our collection of antique arts and crafts:

Antique bronze Thai Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Buddha statue

325 euro
Antique bronzen Thai Buddha statue

Antique bronzen Thai Buddha statue

500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese stupa

Antique wooden Burmese stupa

250 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha

400 euro
Antique wooden Laos Buddha statue

Antique wooden Laos Buddha statue

350 euro
Set of antique bronze Burmese opium weights

Set of antique bronze Burmese opium weights

150 euro
High quality bronze Nepali Buddha statue

High quality bronze Nepali Buddha statue

950 euro
Old bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

275 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

275 euro
High quality bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha

High quality bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha

950 euro
Old wooden Burmese Buddha statue

Old wooden Burmese Buddha statue

175 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

150 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha

375 euro
Bronze Nepali medicine Buddha statue

Bronze Nepali medicine Buddha statue

200 euro
Antique Jain statue from an Indian temple

Antique Jain statue from an Indian temple

900 euro
Old metal shrine with antique Burmese Buddha

Old metal shrine with antique Burmese Buddha

300 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha statue

Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha statue

4,000 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

150 euro
Old wooden Buddha statue

Old wooden Buddha statue

125 euro
Special early bronze Thai Buddha statue

Special early bronze Thai Buddha statue

4,500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

125 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha statue

600 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Stupa

Antique wooden Burmese Stupa

2,450 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Nat statue

Antique wooden Burmese Nat statue

250 euro
Antique wooden Japanese Buddha

Antique wooden Japanese Buddha

2,350 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique bronze Burmese Shan Buddha

1,500 euro
Antique wooden temple panel

Antique wooden temple panel

2,750 euro
Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Rattanakosin Buddha statue

350 euro
Old bronze gilded Nepali Manjushri

Old bronze gilded Nepali Manjushri

375 euro
Very special and large bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Very special and large bronze Burmese Buddha statue

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