This cave was constructed during the Datong era in the Western Wei (according to the inscriptions on the north wall which has the dates of the fourth year and fifth year of the Datong era of the Western Wei, (538-548) and it is the dated earliest cave among the Dunhuang caves.The main chamber is square in plan and has a truncated pyramidal ceiling. A square altar was made in the center in the Yuan dynasty, and there are four symmetircal cells on each side walls. Inside or at the entrance of some cells are the remnants of the pagoda of the Yuan dynasty. The ceiling center highlights a parasol design, while the four slopes are covered with the images from Chinese mythology such as the traditional Chinese gods, and protectors of Buddhist laws, Mani Pearl, Guardian warriors, apsaras, god of Thunder, auspicious beasts, Fuxi and Nüwa, and etc. The bottom circle of the four slopes contains thirty-six monks in meditation in huts or in the mountain forests where all kinds of animals
Constructed in the Northern Zhou dynasty, this cave consists of a main chamber, a corridor and a front chamber. The main chamber is square in plan and has a truncated pyramidal ceiling. In the center of the ceiling is a painted motif of laternendecke with lotuses and draperies extending to the four slopes. In the center of the west slope are a Lotus and a Mani Pearl flanked by six musicians and apsaras on either side. Below them is the niche beam decorated with motifs of flame, lotus and incarnated boys. The scenes on the south and east slopes form a complete Sattva Jataka. The scenes on the south slope mainly include the episodes of Prince Sattva leaving the palace, hunting, and taking a break. And those on the east slope include episodes of feeding the tiger and building a pagoda. Below are celestial musicians, six apsaras, and draperies. The north slope is devoted to the Samaka Jataka, which consists of the episodes of worshipping the blind parents (on the west side) and King
Constructed in the Sui dynasty and Renovated in the Five Dynasties, this cave consists of a main chamber, a corridor and a front chamber. The main chamber has a gabled ceiling in the front and a central pillar connecting the ground with the flat ceiling in the back. On the two slopes of the gabled ceiling are jataka tales painted in two horizontal bands, and on the flat ceiling are pictures of the Sui dynasty preaching scenes and painted laternendecke motifs. The central pillar is shaped like Mt. Sumeru formed by a seven-stepped inverted pagoda on the upper and a two-stepped square base on the ground. There is a arch niche in each side of the central pillar. The east one contains the statues of a Buddha and two disciples (the one on the north side is lost) and two bodhisattva statues flanking the entrance (the one on the north side is preserved, though damaged partly). The niche has a painted lintel in bas-relief with a dragon-headed beam and pillars decorated with lotus motifs.
Constructed in the Early Sui and Five Dynasties, renovated in the Qing dynasty, this cave consits of the front chamber, corridor and main chamber. The main chamber is square in plan. It has a central pillar and a gabled ceiling in the front and a flat ceiling in the back which is connected with the central pillar in the shape of Mt. Sumeru. The east slope of the gabled ceiling shows the Chapter of the Universal Gate of Avalokitesvara in the Lotus sutra (scenes of salvations of Avalokitesvara) in two horizontal bands, one above the other, and the west slope is used to render Thirty-three Manifestastions of Avalokitesvara recorded in the same chapter of the Lotus sutra in the same compostion.The center of the flat ceiling features a square in which round draperies are painted around the top of the central pillar. The four corners each have a dhyana Buddha (the one in the northeast is lost), and the center motif is surrounded by the thousand Buddha motifs. The central pillar
Located on the middle section of the Southern Area at Mogao, this cave was constructed in the High Tang and renovated in the Middle Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties. It is one of the representative cave of the Tang dynasty. The main chamber, square in plan, has a truncated pyramidal ceiling and a niche in the west wall. The ceiling center depicts a peony surrounded by cloud patterns. On the four sides are various decorative patterns, such as the motif of two partly overlapped squares, half medallions, diamond lozenges, medallions, and draperies in red, blue and green colors, looking bright and fresh. The four slopes are covered with the Thousand Buddha motifs. In the center of the south wall is a preaching scene (two pieces taken away by Langdon Warner in 1924). The central statue is lost, while the back halo in bas relief as well as one disciple and two bodhisattvas have survived. The ceiling of the niche highlights a preaching scene of Maitreya, in which two disciples, four
jian in width. There is no eave under the flat base of the upper storey. This kind of depiction is only seen among the Early Tang paintings.There is no window or wall between the pillars of the upper and lower storeys, which is replaced by the hanging curtains. The ground of the platform is paved with flowered tiles, similar to the customs of the Tang dynasty. On the space above the east entrance is a preaching scene, and on either side of it is a preaching scene of a seated Buddha. The south side of the entrance contains a standing Buddha and two bodhisattva in the center and a row of male donors of the Five Dynasties below (obscured). The north side contains a eleven-headed Avalokitesvara illustration in the center, and a row of male donors painted in the Five Dynasties (obscured). On the lower parts of the north and east walls in the main chamber are male donor figures, most of them have been obscured. Judged from the numbers in the surviving inscriptions, people who sponsored
The main chamber is square in plan with a central altar, and the front chamber is rectangular in plan. Both are connected by a long corridor. In the Maitreya sutra illustration in this cave, there is an inscription in ancient Tibetan and an image of a wedding ceremony of a Tibetan man with a Chinese woman, from which it can be determined that it was constructed in the period when Guazhou was occupied by the Tibetans and Shazhou was not yet, namely from the 11th year of Dali era (776) to the second year of Jianzhong (781). Part of the ceiling of the main chamber has collapsed, and the front chamber was renovated in the Five Dynasties. The original paintings are well preserved. On the east wall is a Mandala of Eight Bodhisattvas, on the south wall is an Amitayus sutra illustration, and on the north wall is a Maitreya sutra illustration. On both sides of the illustration are single images of Avalokitesvara, Mahasthamaprapdta and Kistigabha bodhisattvas. On the two sides of the entrance
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