Wenshu Hill Grottoes

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Located on Wenshu Hill 15 km to the south of Jiuquan City, the grotto complex is built on the front slope and the rear slope about 100 m apart. The site is surrounded by mountains and shaded by green woods. In its prime, the site had over 360 buildings including 70-odd temples and 100-odd caves. Second in size only to the Mogao Grottoes,

Over the centuries, most of the caves and buildings have fallen into ruin. those remaining include the Ten Thousand Buddhas Grotto and the One Thousand Buddha Cave on the front slope, and the Ancient Buddha Cave and others on the rear slope.

The One Thousand Buddha Cave is built at the mid level of the cliff and dates from around the Northern Wei Dynasty (368-534). A wooden frontage to the cave was added during the Qing Dynasty. The cave is square and has a floor-to-ceiling central pillar, which is painted with flying Apsaras playing music. On the upper part of the right wall are painted the Auspicious Thousand Buddha and the middle part depicts the Buddha preaching and the Goddess of Mercy. On the lower part of the wall is a line of patrons of the cave painted in bright colors.

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