Chinese Name: 龙门石窟
English Name: Longmen Grottoes; Long Men Shi Ku
Type: Ancient culture and art
Rating Level: AAAAA (5A)
Longmen Grottoes is located in Luoyang City, Henan Province. It is the largest stone carving art treasure house with the largest number of statues in the world. It is rated as the “highest peak of Chinese stone carving art” by the United Nations Scientific, educational and cultural organization. It ranks first among the major Grottoes in China. It is now a world cultural heritage, a national key cultural relics protection unit, and a national AAAAA tourist scenic spot.
Longmen was dug by Yu the Great大禹 during the flood control. The legend of the fish leaping over the dragon’s gate also occurred here. The grottoes were excavated in the period of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty北魏孝文帝, flourished in the Tang Dynasty, and finally in the late Qing Dynasty. After more than 10 dynasties, it has been built for more than 1400 years. It is the longest-built grotto in the world.
A large number of color paintings were used in the construction of Longmen Grottoes, but most of them have faded. It is densely distributed on the cliffs of the East and West Mountains of Yishui伊水, with a length of 1km from north to south. There are 2345 cave niches and more than 110000 statues. It is called the three largest Grottoes in China together with the Mogao Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes.
The Longmen Grottoes make the grotto art present the trend of sinicization, which is the “milestone” of Chinese Grotto Art. It has also been built in Tianzhu天竺, Xinluo新罗, Tuhuoluo吐火罗, Kangguo康国, and other countries. It has found European patterns and ancient Greek stone columns. It can be called the most internationalized Grottoes in the world.
What are worth visiting and seeing？
The Yishui River伊水 accumulates in the south of Longmen Mountain and cannot flow out to the North due to this mountain. It forms a vast ocean and often floods. Therefore, Yu the Great chiseled Longmen Mountain and divided it into East and West, so that Yishui could flow northward from the middle of the two mountains. Longmen mountain can be used as the general name of the East and West Mountains. After it was divided into two parts by Yishui, its east mountain was called “Xiangshan Mountain” after Wu Zetian built the fragrant mountain temple, while the West Mountain continued to be called “Longmen Mountain”.
It is said that during the flood period, Luoshui and Yishui were blocked and formed a large ocean. The people were in great distress and drowned. Yu the Great even suffered from floods, so he led the people to dredge the Luoshui River and inject it into the Yellow River. However, the Yishui river was blocked by Longmen Mountain. Therefore, Longmen Mountain was dug to merge the Yishui River and Luoshui River and inject it into the Yellow River, thus solving the flood problem here.
It is said that after Yu opened the Longmen gate, the current was swift. The carp swimming in the Yellow River in Mengjin went retrograde along the water of Luo and Yi. When they swam to the Longmen gate, the waves were towering, and they jumped one after another, intending to cross. The one who jumps is a dragon and the one who cannot jump leaves a black scar on his forehead.
There are more than 50 large and medium-sized caves in the Northern Dynasty and the Sui and Tang Dynasties.
There are nine Buddha statues in the statue niche of Dalushena大卢舍那像龛. The main Buddha in the middle is Lushena Buddha卢舍那大佛, which was carved by Wu Zetian武则天 according to her own appearance and appearance. On the right side is the eldest disciple Kasyapa迦叶, on the left is the younger disciple Anan阿难, and then the Samantabhadra普贤菩萨 (left) and Manjusri文殊菩萨 (right). The heroic and heroic king of heaven, the aggressive warrior, and the main Buddha Lushena form a group of artistic group images with rich emotional texture.
Binyang cave宾阳洞, formerly known as Lingyan Temple灵岩寺. Binyang cave was first excavated in the first year of Jingming景明 in the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 500). It has a history of more than 1500 years. It is the historical achievement of emperor Xuanwu宣武 of the Northern Wei Dynasty in moving the capital to Luoyang and carrying out the Sinicization reform in memory of Emperor Xiaowen. It is also the only grotto with accurate records in the official history of China.
The grottoes and Buddhist niches in the Longmen area show the largest and most excellent plastic arts from the late Northern Wei Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty (AD 493-907). These works of art depicting religious themes in Buddhism represent the highest peak of Chinese stone carving art.