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longmen grottoes
Luoyang Longmen Grottoes

Longmen Grottoes (龙门石窟, Dragon Gate Grottoes) is one of China’s stone-carving art treasures, and one of three biggest grottoes in China (two others are Dunhuang Grottoes of Gansu Province and Yungang Grottoes of Datong). Located on both sides Yi River(伊河), the south suburb of Luoyang, exactly on the Longmen Mountain and Fragrance Mountain. It was a national five-A scenic area. It was carved during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen in North Wei Dynasty. The whole grottoes carving lasted for over 400 years, and experienced East Wei Dynasty, West Wei Dynasty, North Qi Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Five Dynasties and Song Dynasty. The whole length from south to north is up to 1 kilometer, 2345 Buddha niches, more than 100, 000 Buddha statues and more than 2,800 stele carvings and inscriptions, in which, the Longmen Ershi Pin(龙门二十品, Score Masterpieces of Dragon Gate) was the quintessence of calligraphy arts of the steles of Wei Dynasty. The Stele of Yique Buddha Niches(伊阙佛龛之碑) written by Chu Suiliang(褚遂良, 596-658) was the typical representative of early Tang Dynasty’s regular script calligraphy art. The whole construction lasted for a long time and several dynasties. And there existed a multitude of material objects and script documents, all of which in different aspects show the ancient politics, economy, religion and culture. In 2000, it was approved as a site of World Cultural Heritage in China by UNESCO.