The four grottoes are Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in Gansu, Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Shanxi, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan and Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui, Gansu. The four grottoes are giant grotto art landscapes characterized by Chinese Buddhist culture and historical treasures of Chinese ancient traditional culture and art.
1. Mogao Grottoes
Mogao Grottoes, commonly known as thousand Buddha cave, is located in Dunhuang at the west end of Hexi corridor. It was founded in the pre Qin period of the Sixteen States, and has been built in the Sixteen States, the Northern Dynasties, the Sui, Tang, the Five Dynasties, the Western Xia, the yuan and other dynasties. It has formed a huge scale, with 735 caves, 45000 square meters of murals and 2415 clay colored sculptures. It is the largest and richest Buddhist art place in the world.
In 1961, Mogao Grottoes was announced by the State Council of the people's Republic of China as one of the first batch of national key cultural relics protection units. In 1987, mogao grottoes were listed as world cultural heritage.
2. Yungang Grottoes
Yungang Grottoes is located at the south foot of Wuzhou mountain, 16 kilometers west of Datong City, Shanxi Province. It is one of the largest Grottoes in China, one of the four grotto art treasures in China, a national 5A tourist attraction and the first batch of key cultural relics protection units in China. There are 51 main caves and more than 51000 statues in Yungang Grottoes, which have been listed in the world heritage list by UNESCO.
3. Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes is located on Longmen Mountain and Xiangshan Mountain on both sides of Yihe River in Luolong District, Luoyang City, Henan Province. It is a world cultural heritage, a national key cultural relics protection unit, a national AAAAA tourist attraction and one of the treasure houses of Chinese stone carving art. Longmen Grottoes lasted a long time and spanned many dynasties. With a large number of physical images and written materials, they reflected the development and changes in many fields such as politics, economy, religion and culture in ancient China from different aspects, and made great contributions to the innovation and development of Chinese Grotto Art.
Longmen Grottoes were excavated during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. After that, they have been built on a large scale in the Eastern Wei Dynasty, the Western Wei Dynasty, the Northern Qi Dynasty, the Sui Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty, the Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty for more than 400 years, with a length of 1 km from north to south. Today, there are 2345 grottoes, more than 100000 statues and more than 2800 inscriptions on steles. Among them, "twenty products of Longmen" is the essence of calligraphy and Wei tablet. Zhu Suiliang's book "the monument of Yi Gu Shrine" is a model of regular script art in the early Tang Dynasty.
In 2009, Longmen Grottoes was listed by China World Records Association as the grottoes with the largest number of existing grottoes and niches in China, creating the largest number of existing grottoes and niches in China.
4. Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui
Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui is an important scenic spot in Maijishan Scenic Spot, a national 5A tourist attraction, one of the four Grottoes in China, and known as the "Oriental Sculpture Museum". The grottoes were built in the late Qin Dynasty (384-417). They flourished during the reign of emperor yuan and Emperor Taiwu of the Ming Dynasty in the Northern Wei Dynasty, and developed after the first year of Taihe of Emperor Xiaowen (477). It is named because the shape of the mountain resembles the shape of a farm wheat crib. On June 22, 2014, at the 38th session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Doha, Qatar, Maijishan Grottoes was successfully listed in the world heritage list.
The niche of Maijishan Grottoes is chiseled on the vertical cliff surface with a height of 20-80m and a width of 200m. There are 194 cave niches, including 54 caves on the East Cliff and 140 caves on the West Cliff, with more than 7800 clay sculptures, stone tire clay sculptures and stone sculptures. The largest statue, the East Cliff Giant Buddha, is 15.8 meters high and more than 1000 square meters of murals.