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Constructed in the Jinglong era (707-710) namely the end of the Early Tang and the beginning of the High Tang this cave was constructed as the family temple by the Yin Family at Dunhuang. Part of the paintings was renovated in the Later Tang and the Five Dyansties and the statues were renovated in the Qing dynasty. The main chamber has a truncated pyramidal ceiling which features a medallion pattern in the center enclosed by the twisted vines and draperies that extend to the four slopes covered with the thousand Buddha motifs (partly damaged). There is a niche with a flat entrance in the west wall housing a seated Buddha renovated in the Qing dynasty and painted images of four bodhisattvas and eight disciples. A bodhisattva is painted on each side of the niche. The south side of the adobe platform on the north side of the niche has an inscription with the portraits and titles of the Yin Family members Yin Ciqiong and Yin Ciwang. Inside the central frame on the south wall is a preaching scene in which Mt. Sumeru is painted in the upper with eight temple halls stand on it. The two sides and below the preaching scene are covered with more than 30 scenes of figures and buildings in the landscape context and each scene has one or several cartouches with unidentified words. The middle part below the preaching scene is a cartouche with some words identified. The lower parts show severe flaking and loss of paint. There is an alien-styled figure on the lower right side. Opinions about the contents of the murals differ: some consider it was executed according to the Lotus Sutra while some think it is based on the Usnisa Vijaya Dharani Sutra. We accept that the content is according to the USnisa Vijaya Dharani Sutra. The whole north wall is covered with the Amitayus sutra illustration which consists of three parts: the pure land of Amitabha in the center the story between Binbisara and Ajatsatru on the west side and the Sixteen Meditations on the east side. The whole east wall is devoted to the illustration of the Universal Gate of the Lotus Sutra. Right above the entrance is a preaching scene of Sakyamuni on the Vulture Peak. The upper parts of the both sides of the entrance are used for scenes of Avalokitesvara saving people from disasters while the lower parts have images of the thirty-three manifestations of Avalokitesvara. Along the entrance on the north side is an image of bhiksu Hong Ren painted in the Five Dynasties. The tent-like ceiling of the corridor has two slopes containing the images of Ksitigabha and Ten Kings painted in the Later Tang. The front chamber was repainted in later dynasties and it is severely damaged.
The hall cave was sponsored by the couple of Cao Yuanzhong military governor of the Gui-yi-jun regime as their family temple in the tenth century part of the murals were renovated in the Song dynasty. It is located at the lower level on the middle section of the Southern Area at Mogao and it is one of the largest caves at Mogao consisting of a front chamber a corridor and a main chamber. There is a two-stepped central altar in the center of the hall. It is called the hall of Manjusri in Dunhuang documents. The main chamber has a truncated pyramidal ceiling and the ceiling center features a large parasol motif in the center of the parasol are five lotuses a entwining dragon and parrots. On the four slopes are preaching scenes surrounded by the thousand Buddha motifs. The four arch recesses in the four corners of the ceiling respectively depict the four great heavenly kings namely Dhrtarastra in the southeast recess Virudhaka (mostly damaged) in southwest Virupaksa in the northwest and Vaisravana in the northeast recess. On the south north and east walls are eleven sutra illustration altogether and below these illustrations are Buddha's life stories and donor figures. The whole west wall is covered with a large-sized map of Mt Wutai (13 meters long and 3.6 meters high). On the upper part of each sidewall are five sutra illustrations below them are thirty-three screen paintings illustrating Buddha's life stories. There are also tens of donor figures of the Cao family and inscriptions preserved on the east north and south walls. The statues on the central altar are completely destroyed only the traces of the paws of a lion can be seen on the back screen on which traces of some images are visible. On the upper part of the east wall is a Vimalakirti sutra illustration and below are donor figures. On the ceiling of the corridor is a six-fold medallion pattern with draperies on the two slopes. On the south and north walls of the corridor are images of Tejaprobaha Buddha and Eleven Star Gods the zodiac and alms-begging monks and nuns. There are inscriptions in both Tangut and Chinese. In the Yuan dynasty the Huangqing Temple was built in front of the cave which was renovated in 1351 by Suleiman Khan King of Xining.
Located on the middle section of the Southern Area at Mogao and constructed in the Early Tang dynasty (renovated in the Middle Tang Later Tang Five Dynasties Song and Qing dynasties) this cave has a truncated pyramidal ceiling and a niche in the west wall. It is one of the representative Tang dynasty caves. It was perhaps in the Song or Western Xia period that the paintings in this cave were all covered with the thousand Buddha motifs. In 1944 the Dunhuang Art Research Institute removed the upper layer murals on the four walls revealing the original Early Tang paintings. The west niche contains a central Buddha flanked by two disciples and two bodhisattvas (renovated in the Qing dynasty). The donor figures of the Early Tang below the niche are vague. The illustrations of the Vimalakirti and Manjusri are respectively rendered on the two sides out of the niche. The south wall is occupied by the Amitayus sutra illustration and the north wall by the Medicine Buddha illustration. There are two scenes of dancers in the north wall (called as the whirling dance by some scholars). A preaching scene is painted on the space above the cave entrance. There are also two figures a male and a female. There is also an inscription dating to the 16th year of Zhengguan era (642 CE). The two sides of the entrance wall are devoted to the Vimalakirti sutra illustration. In 1975 the Dunhuang Art Research Institute has removed the surface layer of the paintings as a whole thus revealing the intact bottom paintings: a new styled illustration of Manjusri in the Tongguang third year (925) of the Five Dynasties seven donor figures including that of Zhai Fengda an inscription (on the north wall) a niche painted in the Middle Tang a Buddha a monk and seven donors painted in the Later Tang an inscription about the Examination of the Family Tree written by Zhai Fengda (on the south wall). Each picture in this cave is a masterpiece and the image of Vimalakirti in particular is of the highest level. The emperor and ministers can be compared with the Emperors of the Past Dynasties painted by Yan Liben. The dancing scene and the music band in the Medicine Buddha illustration are precious material for studying the music and dance.
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 and hunting scenes are painted. There is a big niche in the west wall which has two small side cells. The west niche contains a seated Buddha with legs pendent and preaching. The side cells in the niche each have a meditation monk with a cowl. The upper part of the space out of the niche is occupied with various images of all kinds of devas and heretic figures such as the gods of the Sun and the Moon the gods of the stars Visnu Mahesvara Kumara Vinayaka and worshipping bodhisattvas below them are four heavenly kings and Vasistha. The brim of the niche at the bottom is decorated with the honeysuckle motifs. The North wall consists of the upper middle and lower parts. The upper part is devoted to eleven musician apsaras holding different music instruments. The middle part is covered with the narrative story of five hundred robbers which ends with the scene of Sakyamuni and Prabhutaratna sitting side by side. The lower part contains four cells. The spaces between the cells on the side 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 painted in the Middle Tang dynasty. The south wall has a illustration of Amoghapasa and the north has an illustration of Cintamani-cakra both date to the Middle Tang period. The front chamber is a rectangle in plan and the ceiling is a slope with traces of the Song dynasty murals. The west wall in the front chamber has a small cell above the entrance (numbered as cave 286). The south side of the entrance has some traces of the Song dyansty donor figures and below them the Middle Tang paintings can be seen. The north of the entrance with the picture of the Song dynasty male donor figures is numbered as cave 287 .
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