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History of Yungang Grottoes

Yungang Grottoes were caved in 453, and mostly completed in 494 before the time that the capital of North Wei Dynasty moved to Luo Yang. The time of whole project extended to 525. The statues in grottoes are vivid and life-like, the carving on pagoda columns are dedicate. The whole masterpiece is strongly featured by the realistic style of art and the romantic style of art.

According to the time of carving, the grottoes can be opened early period, middle period and late period. Different period has the different styles and techniques for carving statues. In early times, the grottoes were grand and magnificent and strongly characterized with the exotic artistic styles. In middle times, the grottoes are elaborately carved, and the accessories and decorations are well-known in the world. Besides, they are complicated very much. In later period, the carved figures are slender and beautiful. Moreover, the scale is proper and it is one of the origins of Chinese traditional painting styles.

Visually, the grottoes also gave us the recorded trace of Buddhist culture from Indian and Mid-Asian to localization of Buddhism in China. It shows the process of secularization of Buddhist statues. The masterpieces of Longmen Grottoes and Sculptures of North Wei Dynasty were both influenced by Yungang Grottoes. Since then, Chinese architecture, especially Chinese architecture of palace complex was largely affected.

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