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Introduction to the Artistic Features of Late Yungang Grottoes

Late grottoes
After the Northern Wei Dynasty moved the capital to Luoyang (494), although the large-scale excavation of the Yungang Grottoes ceased, the wind of carving caves spread among the middle and lower classes, and the relatives, middle and lower officials, and believers made full use of the old skills of Pingcheng A large number of small and medium-sized caves were excavated in Yungang. The construction of such small caves and small niches continued until the fifth year of Emperor Xiaoming (524).

As the northern capital, Pingcheng was still an important place for Buddhism in the Northern Wei Dynasty. At this time, the large caves were reduced, and the small and medium cave niches were covered with cliff faces from east to west. They are mainly distributed to the west of Cave 20, including Cave 4, Cave 14, Cave 15 and the small niches on the cliff west of Cave 11. There are about 200 small and medium-sized caves. Most of the caves appear in the form of single caves, no longer in groups.

The subject matter of the statues is mostly Sakyamuni or Maitreya at the top and Sakyamuni at the bottom. Buddha statues and Bodhisattvas have thin faces, long necks, narrow shoulders and shaved down. This kind of statues promoted the “Sinicization” reform in the late Northern Wei Dynasty, and the emergence of a fresh and elegant artistic image of “showing bones and clear statues” became prominent Buddhist statues in the late Northern Wei Dynasty. Features. This characteristic and style is also manifested in the Northern Wei Grottoes of Longmen Grottoes, which has a profound impact on the development of Chinese cave temple art.

Features of Xiuguqing Statue
Since the 1960s, nearly 1,000 Buddhist stone statues and more than 100 gold and bronze statues have been unearthed in Shandong Boxing, Wudi, Zhucheng, Qingzhou, Changyi and Huimin. From the Northern Wei Dynasty to the Eastern Wei, Northern Qi, Sui, Tang to Northern Song Dynasty, the time span is more than 500 years. Its quantity, quality and distinctive style have established Shandong as the center of Buddhism art in eastern China.

What is particularly rare is that many works from the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi periods were unearthed and rich in local characteristics, which made up for the lack of information in this area. Since Qingzhou is located between the north and the south of the development of Buddhism, the evolution of its style has provided precious material materials for studying the spread of Buddhist art in the north and south of China.

The Qingzhou area is located between the two major Buddhist cultural plates of the north and the south, but it is more influenced by the Southern Dynasty. This is related to the political origin of the ancient Qingzhou and the Southern Dynasty. In the late sixteen kingdoms of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Qingzhou belonged to Nanyan. In the fifth year of Yixi in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Liu Yu’s army attacked Nanyan. Six years later, Qingzhou entered the territory of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. It was succeeded by Liu Song. It was three years after the Northern Wei Dynasty Huangxing.

Wei captured Dongyang and Qingzhou returned from the Southern Dynasty. Enter the Northern Dynasty. Qingzhou was ruled by the Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties for nearly sixty years. Soon after it belonged to the Northern Wei Dynasty, Emperor Xiaowen was reorganized, and he was about to imitate the Southern Dynasty’s official relics. After the Northern Wei Dynasty occupied Qingzhou, the people there moved to the Daijun area and called “Ping Qimin.”

In the process of spreading the culture of the Southern Dynasty to the north, Cui Guang, Liu Fang, Cui Xiu, Fang Jingxian, etc. were prominent in the process of reusing the celebrities to assist in the restructuring of the regime. In addition, the Northern Dynasty officials also had frequent exchanges with the Southern Dynasty. In the Taihe reign of Emperor Xiaowen alone, the northern envoys had more than ten trips to the south. So far, the Qingzhou area has been under the influence of the Southern Dynasty culture without interruption.

The first stage was before the end of the Northern Wei Dynasty, and its style was roughly the same as the popular “Xiuguqingxiang” popular in the Southern and Northern Dynasties. There were more back-screen statues and attention was paid to the depiction of clothing. The Buddha’s clothing was dressed as the right collar and the left elbow. Yibo belt style with abduction on both sides of the hem.

The second stage was the Eastern Wei Dynasty. The number of round sculptures increased, and the shape of the Buddha statues was larger. The emphasis on dressing changed to the expression of the human body. The clothing of the Buddha changed from the thick of the Northern Wei Dynasty to light and light, and the way of dressing also changed. Raise the left elbow to the left shoulder, still retaining the chest strap, and the hem of the Buddha’s clothing is restrained. The ornaments of Bodhisattva Yingluo gradually increased.

In the third stage, the body of the Buddha statues in the Northern Qi Dynasty was more prominent on the basis of the Eastern Wei Dynasty. The Buddha clothes were carved with few or no engravings. The whole body was covered with a checkered pattern and the figure was painted. The way of dressing the Buddha clothes is from the right collar and the left shoulder. The back is tightened into a small round neckline, and the sides of the hem are slim and vertical. Bodhisattva styles with low bun hair and high treasure crown are more common, and Bodhisattva ornaments are further increased.

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