Mogao Cave 17 – The Library Cave 莫高第17号窟-藏经洞
Located behind the north wall of Cave 16’s hallway, Mogao Cave 17 is the well-known Dunhuang Library Cave. It was built during the Dazhong and Xiantong periods of the late Tang Dynasty (851-862 A.D.) to serve as the memorial hall of Dunhuang’s chief monk Hong Bian. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 23 莫高第23号窟
Mogao Cave 23 was built in the height of Tang Dynasty (704-780 AD). It is one of the most typical caves in Dunhuang from that time. The cave is located on the lower level of the cliff face, and has a standard inverted-funnel-ceiling dating back to the Tang Dynasty. The walls of the cave and the slopes of the ceiling were all painted with the Lotus Sutra transformation, which made this cave a “Lotus Sutra Cave”. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 45 莫高第45号窟
Mogao Cave 45 is located at the lower level in the middle section of Mogao Grottoes South. Although there is no historical record of date of cave building, it can be deduced from observing the shape, murals and artistic style that the cave was built during the High Tang dynasty. To continue reading about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 55 莫高第55号窟
Mogao Cave 55 is a central Buddhist altar cave. It was built around the third year of Jianlong (962A.D.) in the Song Dynasty, during which time the owner was Cao Yuanzhong. The cave was built on a rectangular floorplan, with a horseshoe-shaped Buddhist altar set slightly to the rear of the center, with a corridor in the front and a back screen connecting the floor and the ceiling of the cave. The cave has a caisson ceiling with shallow niches in its four corners, painted with the Four Heavenly Kings. Continue reading in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 61 莫高第61号窟
Mogao Cave 61 is located on the lower level in the middle of Mogao Grottoes South. This cave was built between 947-951 A.D. (Five Dynasties 907-979 A.D.) by the Guiyijun General Cao Yuanzhong and his wife. It is one of the largest hall caves in Mogao that has a truncated pyramid ceiling and an altar in the center of the main chamber. This cave is also called the “Manjusri Hall” because murals and statue remains reflect the theme of the the Manjusri Bodhisattva. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 72 莫高第72号窟
Mogao Cave 72 was built during the Five Dynasties Period. It is one of the early grottoes built by Commissioner Zhang, the head of the Return-to-Allegiance Army (Guiyijun) regime. Several paintings depicting Buddha’s incredible phenomena (Gantong) in the cave are of extremely rich research value. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 96 莫高第96号窟
Mogao Cave 96 was built in the early Tang dynasty. The red wooden eaves built along the cliff covering Cave 96 are 45 meters high, appearing imposing and magnificent. It is a splendid nine-story edifice, thus commonly known as the Nine-Story Temple. It is the icon of the Mogao Grottoes. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 138 莫高第138号窟
Mogao Cave 138 was built in the late Tang Dynasty. It was sponsored by the then prominent Yin Family. The main chamber is a large cave with a Buddhist altar at the center and an inverted-funnel shaped ceiling. The walls were painted with sutra transformations. Besides the Buddha in the center, the rest are all different statues of the Goddess of Childbearing on the central altar, making this cave the “Palace of the Goddess of Childbearing”. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 148 莫高第148号窟
Mogao Cave 148 located toward the southern end of the grottoes. It is a Nirvana grotto. According to the tablet inscription in the antechamber of the cave the Tablet of Merits and Virtues of Lord Li of Longxi in the Tang Dynasty Erected upon the Building of the Cave and Tablet of Merits and Virtues of Lord Li of Longxi in the Tang Dynasty upon Reconstruction of the Cave, the cave was built by the then prominent Li Dabin family and was reconstructed several times in the late Tang Dynasty, the Western Xia Period, and the Qing Dynasty. The focus of Cave 148 is the huge sculpture of Buddha attaining Nirvana, as well as the surrounding paintings of the Nirvana Sutra transformation. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 156 莫高第156号窟
Sixty caves from the late Tang dynasty, from Dazhong second year (848 A.D.) to the Tianyou fourth year (907 A.D.), have been preserved in the Mogao Grottoes. Cave 156 is one of the typical caves built during the time. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 172 莫高第172号窟
Built in the High Tang Dynasty, Mogao Cave 172 features an inverted funnel-shaped ceiling. There is a Buddhist niche carved in the west wall with statues of one Buddha, two disciples, two Bodhisattvas and two Heavenly Kings and paintings of Buddha’s disciples inside. The caisson ceiling is decorated with a rounded-floral pattern with circular net and thousand Buddha motif painted on the background. On the south and north walls are illustrations of the Amitayurdhyana Sutra. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 202 莫高第202号窟
Mogao Cave 202 was built in the early Tang dynasty. It was a standard palatial style cave for Buddha worshipping. It features a square floorplan and an inverted funnel-shaped ceiling. When it was first built, only the polychrome sculptures in the west wall niche and the Dharma preaching mural above the door on the east wall were completed. The rest of the cave was finished in the middle Tang dynasty. During the Song dynasty, the entry of the cave was renovated and the ceiling and murals inside the hallway were repainted. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 220 莫高第220号窟
Mogao Cave 220 is one of the most important caves from the early Tang dynasty in the Mogao Grottoes. It features an inverted funnel-shaped ceiling. On the west (main) wall is a niche with statues, the south an illustration of the Amitabha Sutra, the north an illustration of the Eastern Medicine Buddha Sutra, and the east an illustration of the Vimalakirti Sutra. After the Song dynasty mural cover was peeled in 1943, well-preserved early Tang dynasty paintings resurfaced, along with two title inscriptions in ink dated to the 16th year of Zhenguan (642 A.D.) on the east and north walls, providing exact timing of the mural paintings. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 237 莫高第237号窟
Mogao Cave 237 is one of the representative caves from the Middle Tang Dynasty. It is a palace hall cave with an inverted-funnel shaped ceiling with with an antechamber. The main chamber features a square floorplan, with a deep niche on the entry-facing wall enclosing a horseshoe-shaped Buddha bed niche inside. Paintings in this cave showed Tibetan influence at the time. The murals on the four walls are all illustrations of sutras. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 249 莫高第249号窟
The Western Wei Dynasty is usually defined by historians as the period from 535 A.D., when Gao Huan and Yuwen Tai divided the Northern Wei into the Eastern and Western Wei, to 557 A.D., wen Yuwen Tai eradicated Western Wei and established the Northern Wei. Dunhuang, however, has its unique local history. The Western Wei Dynasty referred to in Dunhuang was not defined strictly according to the regime changes in the Central Plains, but spanned from the late Northern Wei period to the Western Wei period. During this period, Wang Yuanrong of Dongyang served as the governor of Guazhou from the first year of Xiaochang (525 A.D.) or slightly earlier till the reign of Datong of the Western Wei Dynasty. Expert argued that the the new styles that emerged in the Mogao Grottoes was closely related to the appointment of the governor. There are nine existing caves built in the Western Wei Dynasty, among which Mogao Cave 249 and 285 are the most characteristic. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文.
Mogao Cave 257 莫高第257号窟
Mogao Cave 257 was built in the Northern Wei Dynasty. It has a characteristic central pillar (stupa) in the main chamber. A large niche was carved on the east face of the pillar, with a statue of the sitting Buddha preaching the Dharma inside and a statue of the Heavenly King outside. A palace-shaped niche was carved on the upper part of each of the south and north faces of the pillar, with a Bodhisattva statue insdie. A double-tree shaped niche was carved on the lower part of the south face, while a round-arched niche was carved on the north. Inside each is a Buddha statue in meditation. Two round-arched niches were carved on the upper and lower parts of the west face of the pillar with a Buddha statue in meditation in each. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文
Mogao Cave 275 莫高第275号窟
Mogao Cave 275 was built in the Northern Liang Dynasty (397 A.D. – 439 A.D.). A corridor leads to the cave’s main chamber. The main chamber has a longitudinal rectangular floorplan and a truncated pyramid roof. During the Northern Song Dynasty, a wall was built inside the cave that divided it into front and back chambers. The wall was not removed until the early 1990s. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文
Mogao Cave 321 莫高第321号窟
Built in the early Tang dynasty, Mogao Cave 321 has an inverted funnel-shaped ceiling on a square floorplan. The main niche on the west wall contains a combination of statues and paintings of the Buddha, his disciples, Bodhisattvas and Heavenly Kings. These statues were renovated in the Qing dynasty, and thus no longer appear as they were in the early Tang dynasty. A preaching Maitreya Buddha was painted at the niche top . On both sides outside the niche are painted portraits of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 323 莫高第323号窟
Mogao Cave 323 was built in the early Tang Dynasty, and was divided into two chambers of the front and rear. The front chamber has a flat ceiling. The rear chamber (the main chamber) features a square floorplan and has an inverted-funnel-shaped roof and a niche on the west (main) wall. There are five bodies of statues in the flat-roofed square niche on the west wall, all renovated in the Qing Dynasty. Most of the murals inside the cave are original works from the early Tang Dynasty. Paintings of Buddhist historic sites and holy events are on the north and south walls, and precepts are on the north and south side of the entry on the east wall. Continue to read about this cave in English or Chinese.
Mogao Cave 328 莫高第328号窟
Mogao Cave 328 is a representative of grottos built in the early Tang Dynasty. The cave has a square floorplan and an inverted-funnel-shaped roof. The caisson ceiling is of Karma-vajra and lotus flower paintings, with the four slopes painted with the checkboard flower pattern. The niche on the west wall contains a combination of paintings and statues of the Buddha, his disciples, and Bodhisattvas. The ceiling of the niche was painted with the Maitreya Buddha preaching and teaching Buddhism. The south, north and upper part of east walls all feature paintings of the Pure Land, while the lower part of the east wall was painted with eight Bodhisattvas dating from the Xixia Period. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文。
Mogao Cave 420 莫高第420号窟
Built around 600A.D., during the middle of the Sui dynasty, Mogao Cave 420 features an inverted-funnel shaped ceiling and a square plane. There is a niche each carved on the south, west and north walls. This is a well-designed cave with exquisite sculptures and murals, which are unrivaled by other caves built during the same period. Caves built in the Sui dynasty are mainly located between the southern and northern sides of Northern Dynasties caves. This cave serves as a benchmark for Sui dynasty’s artistic achievements in Chinese history. Continue to read about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 427 莫高第427号窟
Mogao Cave 427 has an anterior and a main chamber. The main chamber features a gabled roof in the front and a central stupa in the flat-ceilinged rear. The features of the cave include the three groups of large statues of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas in the main chamber, the four-colored and gilded Thousand-Buddha paintings, the statues of the Heavenly Kings and Warriors in the anterior chamber, and the wooden eaves with an inscription from the Song Dynasty. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文…
Mogao Cave 428 莫高第428号窟
Mogao Cave 428 is located on the third floor of the Mogao Grottoes. It is the largest central stupa grotto among all Mogao Caves. The cave was built in the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557-581 A.D.). The main chamber of the cave has a a central pillar standing on a square floorplan. There is one niche on each side of the central pillar. Continue reading about this cave in English or 中文…