If Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang is famous for its frescos and Maijishan Grottoes for its clay sculptures, then Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves is well known for its stone carvings.
Located in the rocky mountains, thirty-five kilometers away from Yongjing county in Gansu Province, Bingling Caves presently has 196 grotto niches built in it.
Among these niches a variety of Buddhist figures like Arya Avalokiteshvara, Sakyamuni, Amitayus and Maitreya Buddhas are displayed.
The most representative cave in Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves is No. 169 cave which is located on north of the Caves and is about 45 m. (148 ft.) above the ground.
The cave is a natural one taking no regular shapes and is around 15 m. (49 ft.) in height, 27 m. (88 ft.) in width and 19 m. (62 ft.) in depth standing out among other caves as the largest in scale and the richest in content.
In the cave, you'll find the statues of one Buddha and two Bodhisattas which are deliberately carved lifelike figures with rich facial expressions.
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Besides, Buddhist figures with a height ranging from 20 cm. to 27 m. can also be found in other caves. Frescos stretching an area of approximately 1,000 sq.m. (10,764 sq. ft.) is also worth mentioning.
The clay sculptures featured by passionate and vigorous expressions left from Tang Dynasty in particular showcase the exquisite craftsmanship of ancient craftsmen and the prosperity of society during that historic period.
Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves opens during July to November and the ticket fee is 50 CNY (8 USD) per person. If you are really interested in paying a visit, you'll also be endowed with the chance to have a boat cruise, for you can only get there by boat and for which you have to pay extra money.