Longmen Grottoes (龙门石窟)
To see more photos of the caves and Buddhist sculptures, check out photos posted from the Longmen Grottoes location page.
The Longmen (Dragon’s Gate) Grottoes constitute one of the most important sites of Chinese Buddhist art and iconography. Nearly 100,000 statues fill more than 1,400 caves carved directly into the limestone cliffs along the Yi River in Henan Province. The carvings range from heights no larger than an inch tall to the the towering 57-foot tall Vairocana, or cosmic Buddha, commissioned by Empress Wu Zeitan of the Tang Dynasty in 672 AD. The Buddha’s ears alone measure six-and-a-half feet. Considered the pinnacle of Tang Dynasty art, the Buddha is strongly believed to be carved in the likeness of the Empress herself as an homage to her patronage of the construction.