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.
Because they are so well preserved the temples can be unhesitatingly assigned to four definite architectural categories. Type 1 is what is known as the pillar-temple, consisting of a square or rectangular cella with a pillar forming the back wall. The cult image stands on a pedestal in front of the pillar. On either side there are corridors leading into a transverse passageway and into the mountain; these are used in the ritual transformation (Skt ...