Binxian Dafo Temple Grottoes

Home Scenery 2019-01-03

Binxian Dafo Temple Grottoes, located at the foot of Qingliang Mountain, 10 kilometers west of Binxian City, Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province, is the largest Grottoes group in Shaanxi Province and an important geographical coordinate of the Silk Road.

The Dafo Temple Grottoes were first excavated in the Northern and Southern Dynasties. They were excavated on a large scale in the early Tang Dynasty. In the second year of Emperor Taizong's Zhenguan (628), the grottoes were basically completed. There are 446 Buddhist shrines and more than 1980 exquisite statues in the temple. It is an important Buddhist grotto temple near Chang'an, Jingshi, in the prosperous Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty Buddha is the largest in Guanzhong area. It reflects the spread of the art of stone carving Buddha from the west to the East and its popularity in Guanzhong area. It is praised as "the first wonder of Guanzhong" by Bi Yuan, a scholar of the Qing Dynasty.

In January 1988, Dafo Temple Grottoes were listed by the State Council as one of the key cultural relics protection units in China. On June 22, 2014, at the 38th session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Doha, Qatar, the Dafo Temple Grottoes were successfully included in the World Heritage List as a site of the Silk Road: Road Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor, which was jointly applied for by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

geographical position

Binxian Dafo Temple Grottoes are located in Chengguan Town (formerly Shuixian Township) 10 kilometers west of Binxian City, Shaanxi Province, Dafo Temple Village, south of Qingliang Mountain, green and lofty, and north of Jinghe River winding eastward. The east side is adjacent to Dafo Temple Village, and the north side is 312 National Highway. It is 120 kilometers away from Xianyang and 150 kilometers away from Xi'an.

Geographical coordinates are longitude 107 degrees 59'32.4, latitude 35 degrees 04'24.4 and altitude 833-838 meters.

Historical evolution

Dafo Temple Grottoes were excavated in the Northern and Southern Dynasties and in the early Tang Dynasty on a large scale. It has a history of 1300 years.

Zhangba Buddha Grotto is the earliest Buddha Grotto in Dafo Temple. It carved one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas according to cliffs. The typical statue of "stone-shaped clay sculpture" shows the obvious characteristics of the Northern Zhou Dynasty, which shows that the grottoes were excavated in the Northern and Southern Dynasties.

The chronicle inscribed on the side of Happy Heaven at the lower left of Amitabha Buddha's back light is "Datang Zhenguan Days of Nov. 13, 2002". This is the only information left to the world about the statue in the Great Buddha Cave. Many researchers believe that it will take at least ten years to dig the grottoes, depending on the huge amount of work done in the grottoes. Since the second year of Emperor Taizong's Zhenguan (628) in Tang Dynasty, it was the first year of Emperor Gaozu Wude in Tang Dynasty (618). There was a famous "shallow water plateau war" in Chenzhou. Xue Ju and Xue Renhao, known as "the overlord of the Western Qin Dynasty", occupied Longxi and frequently attacked and disturbed Xunzhou, threatening Chang'an. Tang Gaozu Li Yuan sent King Li Shimin of the Qin Dynasty to lead his army westward to fight against Xue. After several exchanges, Wude finally annihilated Xue Jun in the shallow plain (now Changwubei) at the end of the first year of his life, and the West Trouble of the Tang Dynasty subsided. It was a war of heavy losses on both sides. Therefore, after the war, grottoes were built to commemorate the dead and the supernatural.

From the point of view of shape, the main grotto of the Great Buddha Temple inherited the practice of digging worship tunnels in the horseshoe-shaped plane of the Kizil Grottoes in Xinjiang when Buddhism was introduced into China from India in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. From the structural point of view, the top of the Great Buddha Grottoes adopts the horizontal herringbone form of the most popular wooden-like houses in the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang. From the perspective of sculpture techniques, the backlight sculpture behind the Buddha shows the Buddhist art tradition of the Northern Dynasty.

The main wall of West Cave of Luohan Cave is a pave of nine statues popular since the flourishing Tang Dynasty. They are one Buddha and two disciples, two Bodhisattvas, two heavenly kings and two powerful men.

Judging from some inscriptions between statue niches, most of Qianfodong's works were written during the reign of Wu Zetian. The most important inscription in the cave is located at the lower left side of the main wall of the central pillar, which is of great reference value for deducing the statue of the Great Buddha Cave. It is another evidence that Li Shimin built the Great Buddha Cave for the soldiers who died in battle after the "Shallow Water Plateau War" of the Great Buddha Cave System.

The Tang Dynasty "Huichang Fa Nan" led to the destruction of the heads of most statues in the grottoes of the Great Buddha Temple, which is a pity to future generations.

Main attractions

Binxian Dafo Temple Grottoes are grottoed in accordance with the mountain and carved with stone images. There are more than 130 grottoes, which are distributed uniformly on the 400-meter-long cliff. There are 446 Buddhist shrines with more than 1980 statues, which are divided into five parts: the Great Buddha Cave, the Thousand Buddha Cave, the Arhat Cave (Buddha Cave), the Zhangba Buddha Cave and the Monastery Cave.

Cave 87 in the East is called "East Cave"; Cave 12 in the middle is called "Zhongya", or "Ming Jingtai"; Cave 8 in the west is called "Xiya". Dongya and Zhongya caves are dense. The early excavation, the largest scale and the most complete preservation are the "Great Buddha Grottoes". Secondly, "Thousand Buddha Cave" and "Luohan Cave" were excavated during the reign of Gaozong in Tang Dynasty.

Big Buddha cave

The Great Buddha Cave is the center of the whole temple and the largest cave of the Great Buddha Temple. Its direction is 15 degrees to the east of the north. The inside plane of the cave is nearly semicircular, and there are 70 niches with 1001 statues. The plane is approximately convex, 34 meters wide, 18 meters deep and 24 meters high. The overall structure of the upper part of the cave is of dome type.

The Buddha Amitabha, the main Buddha in the cave, leans on the cliff and sits tall, 20 meters high, 5.2 meters high, 13 meters wide, 4.5 meters high, 2 meters high and 0.5 meters high. The sapphire snail bun protects the top, shows loving eyebrows and eyes, has lofty ears and shoulders, golden face, and is kind and dignified; the left hand is kneed, the right hand is raised, the palm is outward, the ring finger is bent slightly forward, and the seal of fearlessness Dharma is used to express Buddha's great benevolent wish to relieve all living beings. It is said that it can make all living beings feel safe and fearless; it is said that it can sit on the lotus platform with its bosom, waistband, and its whole shape is solemn and magnificent. Vivid.

The inscription "Da Tang Zhenguan was built on November 13, 2002" is inscribed on the lower left side of the Buddha's backlight. It is judged that the grotto was founded in the second year of Tang Zhenguan (628 A.D.). On both sides of the Grand Buddha are two threatened bodhisattvas, on the west side are the Guan Shiyin Bodhisattvas, and on the east side are the general trend to the Bodhisattvas. They are all 17.6 meters tall, wearing a jewel crown, gorgeous prominence, and sheep intestine dress. They are elegant and quiet.

There are two circular lace carvings behind the head of the Buddha, with seven Buddhas sitting around it. The 22-body sculptor's exquisite flying skirt and joy arch guards the Pavilion of Maitreya Buddha, showing a happy scene of the western world, forming a rich and peaceful backlight. In addition, there are more than 400 small statues with different shapes in the grottoes. This grotto is a great treasure house of ancient plastic arts with its magnificent scale, magnificent statues and exquisite sculptures.

On the west wall of the Great Buddha Grotto, Song Zhonghong visited the Qingshou Temple and said, "Grapes shelter the wild fruit mountain................................... Travel to Xuanxu Days, visit the right to revisit the year of observance....................................... The "Xuan Crisp Day" in the poem is "Xuan Crisp Day" and "Zhenguan Year" in the poem. This poem was written in the year of Huizong Xuan and Xin Uighur in the Song Dynasty, which shows that the Great Buddha Temple was excavated in the period of Taizong Zhenguan in the Tang Dynasty.

In addition, from the analysis of the shape, style, subject matter and costume features of the cave opening, it seems to be the late works of the Northern Dynasty, which shows that the original statue of the Tang Dynasty followed the pattern of the Northern Zhou Dynasty. The surface of the giant one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas in the grottoes has been reconstructed by their descendants, while the headlights and backlights behind the great Buddha still retain the sculpture content and shape of the grottoes.

On the surface of the halo behind the Buddha, which symbolizes the sacredness, are engraved with patterns of flame, flowers and scrolls. Among them, there are many reliefs of the images of flying Kabuki and sitting Buddha, showing a harmonious and happy atmosphere in the Buddhist world. These small sitting Buddhas in the backlight have flat meat buns, round faces, plump and thick bodies, and retain many statue features since the Northern Zhou Dynasty.

Thousand-Buddha Cave

The Qianfo Cave is located in the east of the Great Buddha Cave. It is a large central pillar cave with a plane similar to the square. Because the cave is not very high, and the central pillar is relatively wide, only a few large niches on the front of the central pillar seem to have some planning, while the other niches on the wall are of different sizes and disorderly arrangement, which is the result of continuous carving after the cave is completed.

There are 696 statues in Qianfodong. From some inscriptions between statue niches, most of them should be the works of Wu Zetian during his reign. The themes of the niches are single Buddha, double Buddha, one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas, one Buddha and two disciples and two Bodhisattvas, single Buddha and Buddha's Tibetan Bodhisattvas. Some of the statues of Buddha, disciples and Bodhisattvas also include King of Heaven and Hercules.

The common style of these Buddhist statues is that they all have the characteristics of bosom bulging, thin waist, wide hip, moderate head-to-body ratio, and full and healthy body. This is a statue art that integrates body health and beauty, and is a new art developed from the plump Buddha statues of the Northern Zhou Dynasty. In particular, some statues of Bodhisattvas clearly show the graceful body outline of women, coupled with the crotch twisting to one side, such as dancing gestures, perfectly depict the charm and charm of Bodhisattvas. This is the embodiment of the positive spirit brought about by the flourishing Tang Dynasty in Buddhist art, and is also the typical artistic style of statues in the Tang Dynasty.

Luo Han Dong

Located on the west side of the Great Buddha Cave, Luohan Cave is composed of four small caves arranged word by word. There are more than 100 statues of different sizes and heights. The interior can be divided into the main room and the East room. The east room is vertical rectangular in the north and south, 9 meters deep and 1.65 meters wide. The main chamber is horseshoe shaped, 6.5 meters deep and 6.3 meters wide.

The eastern part of the main chamber is connected with the eastern chamber. Compared with the Grottoes in other parts of the country, this form is very rare. It is presumed that it may be an unfinished grotto. The Lord Buddha of Sakyamuni is sitting awkwardly, wearing a shoulder-shaped overcoat and meditating seals with both hands. It is 1.7 meters high and is made of stone and mud. On both sides of the main Buddha are disciples, Bodhisattvas and Lishi. Attracting attention is the statue of Manjusri Bodhisattva and the King of Heaven. Sitting on the lotus seat on the back of the lion, Manjusri Bodhisattva looks at ease. Two days later, the King wore armor and stepped on the hungry ghost with a grim air. In addition, there are many statues of Buddha or Bodhisattva standing in the grottoes, which are between 1 and 2 meters high.

Zhang eight Buddha cave

Zhangba Buddhist Grottoes, also known as Yingfu Temple, are located 200 meters west of the Great Buddhist Grottoes. Nine small Grottoes excavated along the mountain are scattered on the cliff.

The main grotto is the Zhangba Buddha Grotto, in which there is a standing statue of one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas carved on the hill. The main Buddha is 8.2 meters high, with a round face, fearless marks on his right hand, curved left arm and a shoulder-shaped robe. The Bodhisattvas on both sides are 6 meters tall, wearing a corolla on their heads, exposed on their upper bodies, dressed in skirts, decorated with necklaces, graceful and graceful. They are both rich and graceful.

There are seven caves on both sides of Zhangba Buddhist Grotto. There are many statues, works of different periods of the Tang Dynasty. The details of the statue have been obscured by weathering, but the charm is still clear. It's solemn, beautiful and elegant. It clearly shows the typical artistic features of Buddhist statues in the Northern Zhou Dynasty.

Monk cave

Located in the east of Qianfo Cave, there are 98 large and small caves, which are overlapping and very dense. There are no statues or inscriptions in the caves.

Most of the caves are square, but some are round or oval. Some caves have one cave, two rooms, and others have four rooms. The smallest grottoes are two meters square and the largest ones are about 10 meters long and wide. Entering these monastery Grottoes is like entering a very mysterious and unique air maze. Up and down, or around the shaft, or stone corridors, or stone steps cut out on the cliff. From the mortise and residual stake preserved outside some caves, it can be seen that many caves are connected in the form of stack Road in history. This large and coherent group of monasteries and Grottoes is very rare in Buddhist grotto buildings all over China.

Guard building

The existing building was rebuilt during the Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty and expanded by the Qing Dynasty. It is 38 meters high and plays an important role in protecting the Great Buddha Grottoes.

The guard building adopts the principle of building by grottoes and starts from the hill. Its structure is exquisite and its momentum is magnificent.

The first and second floors of the protective building are laid out with brick "one by one", which is strong and broad, with stone steps on both sides to reach the platform. The base is square and the top is hexagonal cushion. The bottom is 42 metres long, 14 metres wide and 9 metres high. There are brick tunnels in the middle to get out of the Great Buddha Cave. The word "Jue Lu" is inscribed on the lintel. The second floor is slightly smaller in length and width than the bottom floor. There are three arch-shaped brick arch holes on the front and three words "Ming Jing Tai" carved on the central one. The three holes are connected with the Great Buddha Cave. They can look forward to the Great Buddha and used to be a place for monks to recite Buddhist sutras.

From the top of the three floors, all become wooden buildings. The breadth and height of each layer gradually decrease from the bottom to the top. The overall outline is square and conical. Each layer has doors and windows, railings and railings, which can be seen from the top up. On the third floor, there are dedicated halls and terraces, which overlook the grand Buddha and the scenery of mountains and rivers; on the fourth floor, there are small halls and terraces; on the top floor, there are eaves-type hexagonal roofs with staggered buckets and arches, eaves with high teeth pecking, and the plaque of "Qingshou Temple" hanging high in the center.


According to Ye Changchi, a Jinshijia in the late Qing Dynasty, in The Records of Yanzhou Stone Chamber, there are 22 Tang carvings, 64 Song carvings, 1 Jin carvings and 15 Yuan carvings in Qianfo Cave and Luohan Cave of Dafo Temple. In addition, there are 1 Tang carving, 1 Song carving and 73 Ming and Qing carving that Ye Changchi failed to inspect.

As far as time is concerned: up to November 13, the second year of Zhenguan in Tang Dynasty (628), and down to the end of Qing Dynasty.

As far as the content is concerned, the Tang Dynasty mainly narrates the simple narrative and the multi-narrative statue process; the Song Dynasty's words are refined to record the grand occasion; the Yuan Dynasty's words are also brief, describing the image process; the Ming and Qing Dynasties are long, focusing on describing the scenery of the ancient temple and expressing the feeling of traveling.

As far as calligraphy is concerned, there are many regular scripts in Tang Dynasty with small and neat typefaces; many regular scripts in Song Dynasty with both lines and official scripts with large typefaces; mainly in Ming and Qing Dynasties with clear handwriting; and there are many excellent works in all dynasties, especially in Tang Dynasty.

Historical evaluation

In 1940, Zhou Enlai, Ren Bishi, Deng Yingchao, Cai Chang and other older generations of revolutionaries visited the Great Buddha Temple when they returned home from the Soviet Union via Lanzhou via Pingliang. They expressed the feeling that only by understanding the history and culture of the motherland can they love their motherland more.

In 1988, Subai, a famous archaeologist and professor of Archaeology Department of Peking University, visited the Great Buddhist Temple in Binxian County, and praised this grotto group, which provided us with a physical basis for speculating about the Buddhist art of Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty.

The Director-General of the Cultural Relics Protection Bureau of Bavaria, Germany, praised the grotto statues of the Grand Buddha Temple as "comparable to Notre Dame in Paris".

Tourism information

Address: Dafo Temple Village, Chengguan Town, Bin County, Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province

Tickets: 35 yuan per person in peak season from March to November, 20 yuan per person in off season from December to February

Transportation: 1, 1, 2, 3