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Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Buddhist monastery of the 7th century ad to first half of the 8th, in the valley of the Vakhsh River, 12 km east of Kurgan-Tyube, southern Tajikistan. During this early medieval period it belonged to Vakhsh (U-sha in Chinese sources), one of the 27 domains of Tokharistan. Excavations between ...

Article

M. Yaldiz

Site in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, 56 km north-east of Turfan. It is the site of the most outstanding complex of Buddhist cave temples in Khocho and is located in the steep side of an extensive terrace above the Murtuk River. At one time access to the caves was via free-standing timber buildings or terraces constructed in front of them, but by the time the caves were discovered by ...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

County in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. The presence of Mt Song (also called Mt Xiaoshi, Mt Songyue or Mt Songgao) means that the county is primarily known as a centre of Buddhism. Mt Song was a Buddhist sanctuary as early as the Three Kingdoms period (...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries located 25 km south-east of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Yulin caves at Anxi and the Xi qianfo dong (Western Cave of the Thousand Buddhas). From the 4th century to the 14th, Buddhist cave sanctuaries were continuously carved out in four or five tiers on the cliff face of an alluvial hill that faces east over the Dang River. At its height as a Buddhist complex in the 8th century ...

Article

Ganden  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site near Dagzê, c. 40 km east of Lhasa, Tibet. It was the principal monastery founded by Tsong Khapa (1357–1419) in the early decades of the 15th century, and it thereafter became a major sanctuary of the Gelugpa school of Buddhism that he established. Formerly an impressive monastery town with several hundred shrines and chapels and a population of over 5000 lamas, Ganden was utterly destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

Site in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. A complex of five Buddhist caves, dating from the Northern Wei period (ad 386–534), is located on the south side of Mt Mang on the northern bank of the Yiluo River. The ground level along the river is higher than the ground level inside the caves by over a metre because of dirt accumulated from flooding. The construction of the caves, sponsored by the Northern Wei imperial family, took place between ...

Article

Hadda  

E. Errington

Site of numerous Buddhist monasteries, 8 km south-west of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It flourished from the 1st century bc to the 8th century ad. The ancient site, known as Hilo to Chinese pilgrims of the 5th–8th century, is partially covered by a modern village. The earliest archaeological reports were compiled by ...

Article

Kashgar  

Henrik H. Sørensen, Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Important trading town in the western part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. Kashgar is located where the northern and southern branches of the Silk Route met before the crossing of the Pamirs into Afghanistan and India. Buddhism is likely to have been introduced here as early as the 1st century ...

Article

Khocho  

M. Yaldiz

Site 47 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The most important complexes of monasteries in the Khocho area are Idikutshahri, Lenger, Senghim and Bezeklik. To the west of the town is the Chinese necropolis of Astana. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area is that a ruler of the Tujue dynasty, probably of Turkish origin, had an inscription placed on a temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, in Khocho in ...

Article

Kizil  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monastic complexes c. 40 km north-west of Kucha on the upper reaches of the Muzart River in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. So far 227 caves have been uncovered. They are in a wall of rock pierced by a ‘Great Gorge’ in the western third of the complex and two ‘small’ gulleys to the east. At the end of the main terrace of the complex of caves a narrow path below the Devil’s Caves (nos 198 and 199 in the Chinese numerical system) leads north-east along the edge of the mountain to the ‘second’ and ‘third’ complexes....

Article

Kumtura  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monasteries c. 25 km south-west of Kucha in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The monasteries were built on both banks of the Muzart River, spread out over three gorges, and comprised both cave temples and free-standing buildings. The architecture is the same as that at ...

Article

Longmen  

Molly Siuping Ho

Site of Buddhist cave temples located 12 km south of Luoyang, Henan Province, China. From the end of the 6th century ad to the mid-8th century many caves were excavated into the low limestone hills that run along the northern and southern banks of the Yi River. The sculptures and reliefs they contain, also carved from the living rock, range in size from the small to the colossal. Work was begun under the patronage of the Northern Wei dynasty (...

Article

Miran  

M. Yaldiz

Site of Buddhist monastic complexes and Tibetan fort in south-eastern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The earliest Buddhist complexes in eastern Central Asia, containing paintings of the 3rd–4th century ad, were discovered by Aurel Stein in 1906–7. Altogether Stein identified 16 buildings, some in a fragmentary state. Among them were two clay-brick stupas, which he called M. III and M. V. ...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

Site of 194 Chinese Buddhist cave-temples, carved into the south cliff of Mt Maiji in Gansu Province. The area is prone to seismic activity, and the collapse of the central portion of the cliff during an earthquake in ad 734 divided the site into east and west sections. Access to the caves is by means of scaffold-like timber walkways. The cave-temples house the second largest collection of Chinese clay statuary, after Dunhuang. While the figures follow the style of mainstream Chinese sculpture found at the central Chinese sites of ...

Article

Mary S. Lawton

Cave temple site about 25 km south of Taiyuan in Shanxi Province, China. This complex of relatively small caves is carved in a fairly homogeneous style displaying Indian influences. It was discovered by the Japanese scholar Tadashi Sekino (1868–1935) in 1918 and subsequently studied and photographed extensively. Thereafter, most of the sculptures were stolen piecemeal and acquired for various collections throughout the world, notably the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Van der Heidt collection, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA; and the National Museum, Tokyo....

Article

Frances Wood

Monastic site in Wutai County in the north-east of Shanxi Province, China, approximately 150 km north-east of the provincial capital, Taiyuan. It is one of the four Buddhist holy mountains and centres of Buddhist pilgrimage of China (the others are Mt Emei, Sichuan Province; Mt Putuo, Zhejiang Province; and ...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

Japanese collector, geographer and Buddhist priest. In 1901, while studying in London, the young Otani became acquainted with Stein, Sir (Marc) Aurel, who had just returned from his first Central Asian expedition, and was inspired to undertake similar excavations. In 1902 Otani and four Japanese assistants set out for Central Asia, where they stayed until ...

Article

Ann Paludan

Chinese city in Shandong Province. It was the political, cultural and economic centre of the Qingzhou–Jinan region from the 2nd century bc to the 14th century ad. The area is famous for its Han dynasty tomb sculpture and reliefs. The dramatic discovery in October 1996...

Article

Sakya  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site in western Tsang, Tibet, on the banks of the Sakya Tramchu River, c. 150 km south-west of Shigatse (Chin. Xigazê). It is the principal headquarters of the Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Sakya originally consisted of two separate monasteries: the Northern Monastery, founded in ...

Article

Samye  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site founded c. ad 770 in the Yarlung Valley, on the northern bank of the Tsangpo River west of Tsetang, Tibet. Traditionally considered the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, Samye was (and still is) a main sanctuary of the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. According to tradition it was founded by the Indian scholar–monk ...