Yungang Grottoes Cave Temple or Awingang Cave located in Datong City, Shaanxi Province, China. The temple is an ancient on Buddhist site which older than 1,500 years and was built by the Northern Wei Dynasty of China. Yungang Grottoes built on limestone mountains by drilling into the mountains. There are more than 252 small with large caves and each cave is home to over 51,000 Buddha images. This is classified as 1 of the 3 ancient sculptures of the most famous in China. According to historical records, it is assumed that Awangang Cave was first built during the north-south dynasty (420 – 589 AD).
The area of Datong at that time was called Pingcheng and was the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty. Due to the location of another important strategic location between ancient China in the Great Wall of China and many great barbarian tribes. The city of Ping Cheng is very prosperous from both economic and social. This is including the culture and construction art inside. From this prosperity causing the Northern Wei Dynasty to initiate the construction of a great Buddhist temple in the southern part of the mountain near the city by constructing, digging, drilling and carving mountains into caves. Inside the temple are architecture that accord to Buddhist principles and the construction during this period has been lasted for more than 6 centuries before they change to another dynasties.
Until it was resumed in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) at the beginning, in which there were some additions and renovations to the Avangang stone cave next to the Tang Dynasty. The area of Ping Cheng and Awangang Cave was under the influence of the Liao Dynasty (907 – 1125 AD) and the Jin Dynasty which is believed to be the ancestor of the Niqiang (Manchu) which was later the Qing Dynasty. The Awangang Cave during these two dynasties has returned to great care and reconstruction. There are new works of art on both architecture and sculpture according to Buddhist teachings. Unfortunately, after the end of the Jin Dynasty The Awangang Cave is not further maintained. And was badly damaged during the Manchu war with the Han. But after the Qing Dynasty was established The Awangang Cave is back to receive care and repair damage from the war again.
The terms and criteria for consideration as follows as:
- It is a representation of a masterpiece created with intelligent human creativity.
- It is a very powerful thing Push for continuous development in architectural design, monuments, sculptures, gardens and landscapes, as well as the development of related arts or the development of human settlement which has occurred in a certain period of time or on any area of the world that preserves culture.
- It is a confirmation of evidence of culture or civilization that is currently visible or that has disappeared.
- It is an outstanding example of the type of structure that represents development Culture, society, fine arts, science, technology and industry in the history of humanity.
At present, this Buddhist temple is well looked after by the Chinese government. When you want to visit the cave that you can use the sky train. This cave is registered as a World Heritage Site at the 25th Annual World Heritage Committee Meeting in Helsinki, Finland.