Reference work entry
The Longmen Grottoes are one of the four famous grottoes in China and are also a World Cultural Heritage Site. They are located on the cliffs along the banks of the Yi River, 12 km south of Luoyang City, Henan Province. These grottoes experienced 400 years of consecutive development starting in the Northern Wei Dynasty and extending to the Song Dynasty. To date, more than 2,100 caves have survived with more than 100,000 statues and over 3,600 carved inscriptions om the stone. Their quantity ranks first among all grottoes in China. The middle and lower portions of the western Longmen mound (except the areas south of Huoshao Cave) are mainly composed of limestone and dolomite, both of which are high-quality stone suitable for grotto excavation. These characteristics are why most of the grottoes were built in this area (Fig. 46).
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