Monday, September 12, 2011

Sculpture

As you have read in previous posts, one of the main attractions in Datong is the Yungang Grottoes. Like many tourist stops in China, we had to pay a (relatively speaking) huge fee to get into the park (which, by the way, is under renovation).

After buying our tickets, which happened to be a foot long each, we entered the expansive park. We were directed through a newly built temple, suspended above a man-made lake. After crossing an imperial looking bridge, we walked along a long, winding, tree lined path. At the end of the path were the grottoes.

Built into and around the rock face, the grottoes are an impressive sight. The rock face is dotted with windows and doorways leading into the rock statues. However, these historical rooms are so old that the rock around them has suffered wear and tear. One large statue is completely exposed because its walls and roof collapsed. Many of the grottoes have holes in their walls connecting one room to another.

Many of the grottoes are higher up on the rock face and cannot be seen or touched by tourists. One of these untouchable grottoes had a hole in its wall leading into a ground level grotto. I did the natural thing (!) and jumped up and pulled myself in. Inside was a Buddha surrounded by thousands of tiny Buddhas. Many of these Buddhas still had color and were untouched. Seeing these helped me to visualize what the grottoes looked like in their heyday.

~Z

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