Yungang Grottoes (2001)
China

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The Yungang Grottoes, in Datong city, Shanxi Province, with their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Five Caves created by Tan Yao, with their strict unity of layout and design, constitute a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Chinese Buddhist art. 

The Yungang Grottoes, a famous Buddhist Cave Temple, is located at the southern foot of Wuzhou Mountain in Datong, Shanxi Province. It extends east-west about one km along the mountainside. There are extant 252 caves of different sizes and more than 51,000 statues. It is one of the biggest grotto complexes in China. With a history of more than 1,500 years, construction of the Yungang Grottoes started in the mid-fifth century, and the major grottoes were completed before the time when the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 --- 534) moved its capital to Luoyang. It was renovated many times and more Buddhist structures were added later. 

China 2006. Yungang Grottoes. Sakyamuni (Northern Wei). Stamp #1 of four. China 2006. Yungang Grottoes. Bodhisattva of Offering (Northern Wei). Stamp #2 of four. China 2006. Yungang Grottoes. Bodhisattva of Offering (Northern Wei). Stamp #3 of four. China 2006. Yungang Grottoes. Xieshi Bodhisattva (Northern Wei). Stamp #4 of four.

Among the statues, those of Buddha, Bodhisattva, Arhat and Flying Apsaras are rich in variety and true to life. The tallest statue of Buddha is 17 meters in height while the smallest only several centimeters. These stone sculptures are majestic, vivid and unique, which show the superb skills of the craftsmen. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in China (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section China for further information about the individual properties.  

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Revised 20 jun 2007  
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