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Mogao Grottoes
Chinese Buddhist grottoes, famous ancient sculptural site
 
Mogao Grottoes (莫高窟, mògāo kū, Mogao Caves, Caves of the Thousand Buddhas) are a system of 492 temples southeast from Dunhuang, located at a religious and cultural crossroad on the Silk Road in Gansu Province, on the edges of the Taklamakan Desert.

The caves contain China's largest body of Buddhist art, with over 2,000 colored sculptures, over 50,000 manuscripts and murals coving 42,000 square meters, spanning a period of 1,000 years. The construction began in 366 AD as places to store scriptures and art. From the 4th to the 14th century, Buddhist monks at Dunhuang collected scriptures from the west while many pilgrims passing through the area painted murals inside the caves. The cave paintings and architecture served as aids to deep thought about spiritual matters, as visual representations of the quest for enlightenment and as teaching tools to inform illiterate Chinese about Buddhist beliefs and stories. The murals cover.

The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes as one of the three famous ancient sculptural sites of China along with Longmen Grottoes (龙门石窟, Lóngmén Shíkū) and Yungang Grottoes (云冈石窟, Yúngǎng Shíkū). The Mogao Caves became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987.
 
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