Longmen Grottoes

Longmen Grottoes Luoyang Henan
The magnificent Longmen Grottoes are one of the most important sites of Buddhist sculptures and carvings in China. On the bank of Yi River, this collection of Chinese art was recognized as a World Heritage site for its artistic perfection and its cultural significance.

Continuation of Datong Grottoes

The Northern Wei had built the Yungang Grottoes when their capital was in Datong. They then moved the capital to Luoyang and thus made the same masterpiece not far from the city, the Longmen Grottoes. These two grottoes as well as those of Dunhuang represent the pinnacle of Buddhist cave art in China.

UNESCO Heritage

Stretching over a mile on both banks of the Yi River, 12 kilometers south of Luoyang, the 2100 grottoes are home to over 100,000 sculptures of Buddha, hundreds of representations of pagodas and nearly 2,500 stelae and inscriptions. With its artistic and cultural richness, the Longmen Grottoes are an immense panorama of the history of Buddhist art and have been listed as World Heritage site in 2000.

The Main Caves

The oldest and most important site is the Guyang Cave. Shaped like a horseshoe, this statue resembles Sakyamuni and is almost 5 meters high, in addition to two bodhisattvas aside. This cave also contains nineteen of the twenty most beautiful sites of calligraphy in the area. The three caves of Binyang, built with the model of Lingyan Yungang Temple in mind, are also worth a look. The cave of 10,000 Buddhas, meanwhile, contains more than 15,000 Buddhist statues and walls are beautifully decorated with engravings. It is also interesting to visit the cave of the Lotus Flower, especially to see some disciples of Sakyamuni. Furthermore, the cave of the Medical Prescription also offers a chance to see how it has retained its old yet still useful medical formulas.

Impact of Western Invasion  

The Longmen Grottoes were resisted well against the weather. Unfortunately, they were looted during Western invasions. In some caves and niches, statues are missing, or just heads of statues and murals remain. The relics, which are not now a part of private collections, are exhibited mostly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or the Atkinson Museum of Kansas City. 

  • Best time to visit

    Apr. May. Jun. Sep. Oct. 
  • Altitude

    353M Altitude Longmen Grottoes
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