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Constructed in the Northern Wei dynasty, and located on the middle section of the cliff, this is the earliest central-pillared cave at Mogao. It has a gabled ceiling in the front and a flat ceiling in the back. Under the two ends of the beam of the gabled ceiling and the molded rafters on both slopes are wooden brackets, a structure of Traditional Chinese architecture. Between the rafters are images of celestial beings holding lotuses.The flat ceiling in the back is connected to the ground by the central pillar, which has niches in all four sides for various statues. The large niche in the east side contains a cross-legged Maitreya Bodhisattva, which was originally flanked by four attendants, and now there is only one on the south side and two on the north side. On both sides of the nimbus on the west wall in the niche are attendant bodhisattvas respectively above Vasistha and Mrgasirsa. On the ceiling of the niche are apsaras. The lintel is decorated with reborn children on lotuses.
This cave was constructed in the period when the Hexi region was united by the Northern Wei. Originally it was a cave with a central pillar, a gabled ceiling in the front and a flat ceiling in the back. Due to the collapse of the east wall, only a tiny part of the gable ceiling is preserved today. The cave is square in plan with a Han Chinese styled gabled ceiling in the front. On the west slope are celestial beings holding lotuses. The beam is decorated with painted laternendecke motifs. On the flat ceiling are also painted laternendecke motifs, though only two motifs in the southeast corner have survived. One of them depicts a few naked children swimming in a lotus pond. In the outer corner are four asparas. It was surrounded by a decorative border of honeysuckles.The central pillar in the back connects the ground with the ceiling. It has a niche on each of its four sides. The arch niche in the east side contains a statue of Maitreya sitting with legs pendent (whose eyes, nose
walls depict karma stories about Bhadrika and his sister, the salvation of a bad ox, a young samanera committing suicide in order to obey Buddhist precepts, and a Brahman sacrificing his body so as to hear the preaching. These all are neither represented in a long strip with successive scenes or in a single picture. Below the story paintings are guardian warriors. The north wall consists of the upper and lower sections. The upper section are occupied by seven preaching scenes, each containing a votive text and donor figures at the bottom. The second and the seventh counting from the west each has an inscription in which the date can be identified. The lower section also contain four cells, just like those in the south wall. Three seated Buddha are painted on the space above the entrance in the east wall. On both the south and north sides of the entrance is a preaching scene in large size. The top layer of the ceiling of the corridor show traces of the bodhisattva in diamond position
of Kashi's hunting (east side). Below them are six celetial musicians and apsaras. The figures in the story paintings wore Chinese style attire, and the painting style inherited the tradition of the Central Plains. An arch niche is dug out of the west wall housing a statue of seated Buddha with legs pendent. Behind the statue on the wall is a nimbus consisting of a circle of manifested Buddha images, and a Buddha inside flames. Each of the upper side behind the Buddha are two apsaras holding music instruments and the lower side with two precious pearls. On the niche lintel in bas-relief are colorful flames and incarnated boys. The niche pillars are decorated with lotuses with a dragon's head on the top. On both north and south sides out of the niche are two bodhisattvas and two statues of bodhisattvas, only the lotus thrones are preserved today. Below the niche are lotus patterns.The south wall in the main chamber contains a preaching scene in the center surrounded by the thousand Buddha
: a central Buddha, two disciples, and two bodhisattvas (without head). Flanked the nimbus on the inner niche wall are two images of incarnated boys. The lower part out of the niche are eight bhiksunis of the Song dynasty, beneath which are traces of the Sui dynasty paintings. On the ceiling of the niche are images of ten heavenly musicians. The upper part of the south wall depicts twelve heavenly musicians, railings and draperies from west to east, and the middle part is covered with the thousand Buddha motifs, amid which is a preaching scene of the Medicine Buddha, and a double-recessed niche housing a central Buddha and two disciples (only the disciple on the west side is preserved) and two bodhisattvas on outer niche (only the one on the east is preserved). The niche lintel is decorated with honeysuckle motifs. On the back part is a preaching scene. On the junction of the south wall and the ground are nine bhiksus and male donors of the Song dynasty, beneath are traces of the Sui dynasty
is shaped like Mt. Sumeru: it consists of the upper part of an inverted round seven-storeyed pagoda and a two stepped square throne on the ground. The upper six storeys are decorated with the small molded Buddhas and lowest storey contains a lotus with four dragons around the lotus stem. A niche is dug out in each of the four sides of the throne. The arch niche in the east side contains the statues of one Buddha and two disciples made in the Qing dynasty. On each side out of the niche is a bodhisattva statue renovated in the Qing dynasty. below the niche are images of bhiksus, bhiksunis, male and female donors. The arch niche in the south side contains a Buddha statue and a disciple, made in the Qing dynasty. On the wall inside the niche are two incarnated children, and on each side out of the niche is a statue of a bodhisattva, renovated in the Qing dynasty. Below the niche are male and female donor figure and yakshas, painted in the Sui dynasty. The arch niche in the north side contains
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
respectively on Ksitigabha, on the Ten Wheels, on the Period of Termination, and on the Six Perfections. In composition, the sutra illutration is largely divided into four areas: 1. the center for the preaching scene; 2. the middle of the west side for the salvations of Ksitigabha; 3. The upper part of the west side for the manifestations of Ksitigabha (some scenes are rendered on the upper of the east side), according to the sutras, Ksitigabha has fouty-four manifestations; 4. The east side for the Candala of the Kshatriya class (The Jataka of King Elephant is on the west side in this area). The north wall was completely occupied by the Amitabha sutra illustration. In the center is the preaching scene of the Buddha and on two sides are bodhisattvas listening to Buddha's preaching. The architecture in this illustration is very special. Above the water are platforms and two side corridors, the pavillion with an east Asian hip and gable roof consists of two storeys, three jian in depth and three
Constructed in the Early Tang and renovated in the Five Dynasties, this is a small hall cave with a truncated pyramidal ceiling. There is a niche with double recesses dug out of the west wall, containing a seven-stuccoed figures; a Buddha, two disciples, two bodhisattvas and two heavenly kings. The heavenly kings have features of a non-Chinese foreigner; high nose bridges, thick eyebrows and big eyes. The ceiling center has a pattern of twisted vines. The drapery around the center extends to the four slopes. The decorative borders of twisted vines connect the the four walls with the four slopes. There is a preaching scene of Maitreya in the center of the south wall, which is surrouded by the thousand Buddha motifs. The north wall presents an illustration of the Amitabha sutra in the center, also surrounded by the thousand Buddha motifs. There are three preaching scenes above the entrance on the east wall. The south side of the entrance depicts a preaching scene of the Medicine
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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