Maijishan Grottoes

Maijishan Grottoes Tianshui Gansu
In the region of Tianshui is one of the four most impressive caves in China. Maijishan Grottoes with their innumerable statues of clay clinging to the side of the mountain witness the evolution of the Chinese sculptural art and the influence of Buddhism in China.

Origin of Maijishan

When you take the Silk Road tour from Xi'an, one of the cities Tianshui with its Maijishan Grottoes shouldn't be missed. It is here that the monks arrived from India by the famous Silk Road decided to carve statues in the rock. At the time, they chose cliffs to dig in exceptional natural scenery that were carried a quite special spiritual aura and Maijishan was quite characteristic of the work.

One of the Four Caves

For the fans of sculptures, there are four caves in Chin should not to be missed for their rarity but also the techniques used for the sculptures which you can see the evolution over the centuries. Maijishan Grottoes is one of the four caves. The first sculptures dating from the late fourth century but artists continued their work for the next 12 dynasties. The fineness of the sculptures but also the different styles and improvements over the following centuries make the unique site. At the end, there are more than 7,000 statues that are located in the 194 caves in the same side of the Maiji Mountain.

Sculptures of Clay

Just like the Dunhuang caves, the rock is very friable in Maijishan and therefore not conducive to sculpture. Clay has been imported from other regions to serve sculptors. They usually set up a wooden frame then they modeled with clay. The quality of detail is impressive. Unfortunately, the sculptures are not made ​​of stone, they have pretty much been damaged by the passage of time. Today most of the caves are protected by grilles that spoil a little visit. But the huge outdoor statues and murals are still visible. To see inside the caves, it is better to have a flashlight.  

An Impressive Panorama

Located on the mountain slopes, just follow the stairs from getting lost amid the caves to have an exceptional view of the natural forest surrounding the site. Some of the caves are located 40 meters above the ground; the visit can sometimes be dizzying. For an overview of the wall with the various statues, nothing beats the stairs to the botanical garden of the park, opposite the caves.

  • Best time to visit

    Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. 
  • Altitude

    1 100M Altitude Maijishan Grottoes
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