The Mogao Caves

Draw a teaching the Lotus sutra

Introduce

As Dunhuang was strategically important for trade and communications on the ancient Silk Road, it became a center where religions and cultures from the East and the West and knowledge from China, ancient India, ancient Greece and Central Asia were fused. The Mogao Caves have been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the brilliant treasure house of beauty is now known as a “grand art gallery in the desert.”

Dunhuang, grand art gallery in the desert

Draw a teaching the Lotus sutra
As Dunhuang was strategically important for trade and communications on the ancient Silk Road, it became a center where religions and cultures from the East and the West and knowledge from China, ancient India, ancient Greece and Central Asia were fused.
The Mogao Caves have been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the brilliant treasure house of beauty is now known as a “grand art gallery in the desert.”
A view of the entrance of Cave 96 located almost in the middle of the Dunhuang Mogao Caves.
Mingsha shan (Echoing-sand Mountain)
Caves located in the northern part of the Mogao Caves on the precipice of Mingsha shan, said to have been used by ascetic monks.
A total of 492 caves were excavated or constructed over the course of nearly 1,000 years, creating a colossal and spectacular “art gallery” in the desert.
The Mogao Caves are located 25 kilometers southeast of Dunhuang city. The caves were excavated on the precipice of Mingsha shan (Echoing-sand Mountain) with a full length of 1,680 meters from south to north. Among the 735 extant caves, 492 are decorated with Buddhist artifacts and house approximately 2,400 statues, their walls adorned with beautiful paintings, like a 492-gallery Buddhist art museum. The total surface of the wall paintings is some 45,000 square meters. Starting with the first cave in 366 CE, construction of the caves continued for 10 centuries until 1357, the latter part of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368).
What Are the Mogao Caves?
Dunhuang means “grand and brilliant” or “magnificent and prosperous.” The name Mogao Caves means “caves in the higher part of the desert.” The temperature in Dunhuang drops to nearly minus 20 degrees Celsius in winter. Since the Mogao Caves are exposed to drifting sand from the desert, protecting this cultural heritage from the hazards posed by the sand is of great concern.