Longmen Caves

Longmen Caves

From Luoyang and Xi an

These were my favorite part of our vacation. Imagine a river with rocky hills filled with caves on both side, and thousands and thousands of carved Buddhas. Some only an inch big, others sixty feet high.

From Luoyang and Xi an

The presentation is excellent. As you walk along a scenic river you begin weaving your way into these caves. Each statue is carved from the stone in the caves, some taking as long as 60 years to finish (that is it took 20,000 people 60 years to finish). By coincidence or design each cave you go into is grander than the one before. And after the fourth time that you’re convinced you’ve seen the main attraction you see it. In the center an enormous statute of Buddha flanked on both sides by his followers, and other Gods.

From Luoyang and Xi an
From Luoyang and Xi an

I am really at a loss of words to describe the grandeur of this place. Around every corner there is yet another cave or cliff face carved with statues of Buddha. It’s no wonder that these carvings have taken 1500 years.
There are of course many statues in ruin. Some from floods and nature, some from purposeful vandalism by anti-Buddha Emperors and cultural revolution Communists, and yet some more by western artifact hunters. Still, the sheer quantity of these statues meant they could not all be destroyed.
It is also amazing that some cliffs that receive no fan fare at all, are filled with so many intricate carvings and date back so long ago that in the US they would be attractions of their own.

Also known as the Longmen Grottoes (caves formed from water erosion)

From Luoyang and Xi an
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4 thoughts on “Longmen Caves

  1. Great idea Paek! You certainly won’t find any political turmoil there! By the way, if you wake up in the morning to find your car on fire don’t be alarmed — that is just a traditional Parisian way of being neighborly!

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