Chinese Buddhist cave temple complex 16 km west of Datong, Shanxi Province. The complex, consisting of more than 40 caves and innumerable niches containing Buddhist images, was hollowed from the sandstone cliffs of the Wuzhou Mountains during the 5th century ad under the patronage of the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534; see Wei dynasty, §1 ). The influence of Indian and Central Asian models is discernible in the carvings found in the 20 or so larger, earlier caves, while the sculptures in the smaller, later caves and niches display a more mature Chinese style, which reached its highest expression in the sculptural style of the cave temple complex of Longmen , near Luoyang, Henan Province.
The Northern Wei dynasty, founded by the Tuoba or Toba people, who ruled northern China during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period ( ad 310–589), adopted Buddhism as its state religion. Work was begun at Yungang by the emperor ...