Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Longmen Grottoes - History Mystery

Longmen Grottoes - History Mystery

The Longmen Grottoes is something that contains the most impressive and remarkable collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei & Tang Dynasties (316-907). These represent the high point of Chinese stone carving by devoting the Buddhist religion.

A brief synthesis of Longmen Grottoes:

It is situated on both sides of the Yi River to the south of the ancient capital of Luoyang. If you come here to visit, you can find over 2,300 caves and niches. These remain carved into the steep limestone cliffs over a 1km long stretch. In addition, you can view almost 110,000 Buddhist stone statues, over 60 stupas, and 2,800 inscriptions carved on steles.

Previously, it was the capital during the late Northern Wei Dynasty and early Tang Dynasty. Especially the carving dates were from the end of the 5th century to the mid-8th century. The names of the earliest caves to be carved are Guyangdong and the Three Binyang Caves. These contain big Buddha figures in the West Hill cliffs during the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

The Yaofangdong Cave has 140 inscriptions recording treatments for different illnesses and diseases. It has been working on the sculpture in the cave for over 150 years, offering various changes in artistic style. The Buddhist caves of the Tang Dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries carried it also. In addition, a great example of the Royal Cave Temples' art is the giant sculptures in the Fengxiansi Cave. Artists from different regions have imitated it.

Moreover, these two sculptural art styles — one is earlier "Central China Style," and the latter is "Great Tang Style"— influenced the country and worldwide. Furthermore, they have significant contributions to the development of the sculptural arts in other Asian countries.

Criterion (i): These sculptures are an excellent manifestation of human artistic creativity.

Criterion (ii): These have examples of the perfection of a long-established art form. It played a significant role in the cultural evolution in this region of Asia.

Criterion (iii): Society of Tang Dynasty China and the high cultural level get encapsulated in the stone carvings of the Longmen Grottoes.

The integrity of Longmen Grottoes:

You can view the preserved caves, stone statues, steles, and inscriptions scattered on the East Hill and West Hill. The buffer zone and the property area retained the natural landscapes and the ecological environment since the late 5th century. 

History Mystery


Authenticity for Longmen Grottoes:

People have preserved the Chinese cave temples' art's different aesthetic elements. For example, you can see the layout, material, function, traditional technique and location, and the intrinsic link between the layout and the various elements. They have made an enormous effort to maintain the historical appearance of the caves. In addition, they preserve the actual Buddhist culture and its spiritual and aesthetic functions.

Protection and management needs of Longmen Grottoes:

Longmen Grottoes is a China'sState Priority Protected Site. It got protection at the national level under the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics.

The local legal instruments, including the Regulations of Luoyang City on the Protection and Management of Longmen Grottoes, confirm the legal protection system. Besides, the Management Agency of the Ministry of Culture of the PRC incorporates the Research Institute of Luoyang City together. In this case, they took the help of professional teams on publicity, protection, education, and presentation.

Later, the Management Agency drafted the Conservation Plan. This plan states that we need to strengthen research capabilities like the analysis of the deterioration mechanism of the caves, environmental monitoring, conservation materials, and control measures. However, the opening capacity of the property area remains under control as it depends on the research results on tourist carrying capacity.

After that, various adverse factors negatively affect the heritage, reduced. Plus, it is essential to protect the setting of the caves and maintain a reasonable balance between protection and development of the heritage place.


The Longmen Grottoes has a 331 ha area and 1042 ha buffer zone with 34°33′20″N 112°28′11″E coordinates. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 as an excellent manifestation of human artistic creativity.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are the Longmen Grottoes used for?

It is the most extensive collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316-907). These are primarily for the Buddhist region.

  • When were the Longmen caves created?

Fengxian Si, one of the great truly monumental temples, was available over the three years between 672 and 675.

  • Who carved the Longmen Grottoes?

The Buddhists practice carving rock temples, and it is mainly to dedicate Buddha. Its construction started in 493 during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen. Later, it continued through six successive dynasties like, Tang and Song, for more than 400 years.

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