The Yulin Caves is the Most Beautiful Grottoes in China

The Yulin Caves is a Buddhist cave temple site in Anxi County, Gansu Province, China. The site is located 170 kilometers away from Dunhuang, and belongs to the jurisdiction of the Dunhuang Academy. From Dunhuang City, traveling two hours along the Qilian Mountains, in a desert cliff, looked down a canyon and there are some caves sporadically scattered runs through the canyon cliffs, which is the Yulin Caves.


Although there is no record to be ascertained the created years of Yulin Caves, from the cave in the form and the inscription, it was created in the Sui and Tang Dynasties. There are existing 43 complete murals caves, of which 32 caves in the east cliff, and 11 caves in the west cliff. 

I know the Yulin Caves because of the praise from Chang Dai-chien, who is one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists of the twentieth century. In fact, the Yulin Caves has been a part of the Mogao Grottoes – Yulin Cave Grottoes group in Dunhuang, whose murals and painted sculptures, especially the ones of Xia Dynasty have high artistic value, even exceeded the Mogao Grottoes. 

The Cave 3 and Cave 25 left me with deepest impression, because there is no glass partition. We stayed at the Cave 25 for a much longer time, and this cave is known as the most prominent during AD 781- 848, as well as the cave with the most inspiring and wonderful masterpiece murals of Dunhuang.


October 1941, Chang Dai-chien twice entered the Yulin Caves and copyed the murals of the Cave 25 and Cave 16.


The Cave 25is located in the middle of the east cliff, the main room flat-square, the front room is rectangular, and the corridor between the front room to the main chamber is long and wide. There is a square altar in the center of the main chamber, and the top is bucket-shaped. 

The east wall is the main wall, and the most famous Eight Great Bodhisattvas are here, of which the center is the Lushena Buddha.

Eight Great Bodhisattvas Mandala, Yulin Cave 25 east wall


Southern king statue, Yulin Cave 25 east wall, south side 


The left of the north wall is the Maitreya Sutra, and the main body of the screen is the Maitreya three meetings. The first commission is the center of the whole screen. 


The right side of the screen is the second meeting. 


The left side of the screen is the third meeting.


Marry diagram at the corner of the north wall of the three meetings

The time of the 2010 World Expo, the Urban Footprint Hall copied this cave as overture. 

There are several other caves impressed me.


Cave 3 – the masterpiece of Xia Dynasty 

Mongolia dependents of the Yuan Dynasty in Cave 3 

Cave 6, a 23-meter high Buddha, glowing golden face


Mr. Chang Dai-chine’s works in cave16 in the Sichuan Museum


Cave 29 is a representative of the Western Xia Cave, especially the dependent portrait.

   

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