CHINA From the Mogao Grottoes to the Yungang Grottoes, Xi champions cultural relics protection


From the Mogao Grottoes to the Yungang Grottoes, Xi champions cultural relics protection

People's Daily app

23:06, May 12, 2020

President Xi Jinping on Monday visited the Yungang Grottoes, the third stop during his inspection tour of Datong, North China's Shanxi Province, to learn about its historical and cultural heritage protection efforts.


President Xi Jinping visits the Yungang Grottoes to learn about historical and cultural heritage protection efforts in North China's Shanxi Province, May 11, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

During Xi's inspection tour in Northwest China’s Gansu Province in August 2019, Xi visited the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang as his first stop.

Yungang Grottoes, built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), is one of the three major grotto sites in China. Since the Northern Wei Dynasty chose Pingcheng (now called Datong) as its capital, Yungang Grottoes has been cultivated as a Buddhist holy land for royal families. It took 70 years to finish the elaborate construction of the grottoes.

Based on their shape, subject and style, the grottoes can be categorized into three stages: an early stage characterized by a majestic and plain western style, a middle stage with exquisite carving and decoration, and late stage with smaller scale yet thinner and more proportionally figured statues, which launched a new era in the grotto art of northern China. In December 2001, it was listed as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO.


The third cave is the largest in the Yungang Grottoes. The statue of Amitabha is 10-meters high. (Photo: CCTV News)

Xi carefully viewed sculptures and wall paintings and inquired about the history, artistic style and protection of the grottoes. The Yungang Grottoes represent the characteristics of Chinese culture and the history of cultural exchanges between China and other countries, Xi said.

Lauding the Yungang Grottoes as a "treasure of human civilization," Xi said protection of the site should be the top priority, and its research and utilization should be based on good protection practices.

Today's Yungang Grottoes uses cutting edge tech to recreate cultural relics and brings visitors an immersive experience. In October 2018, the Yungang Grottoes Research Institute and Zhejiang University cooperated to use 3D printing technology to duplicate the 12th grotto "music grotto." The 9-meter-tall and 11-meter-wide grotto can be disassembled and transported conveniently and very fast.

The protection of these precious historical and cultural heritage sites is always championed by Xi.


President Xi Jinping talks with scholars in Northwest China's Gansu Province during his inspection tour there, August 19, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

When visiting the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang last August, Xi inspected the work of cultural relics protection and study, as well as efforts to promote China's great history and fine culture. Xi called for preserving the quintessence of Chinese culture and attaching great importance to the promotion of the philosophies, morality and values inside these cultural relics. 

(Compiled by Dong Yujie; original story from CCTV News)

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