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Dunhuang Color Sculptures


Dunhuang Color Sculptures, totaling more than 3,000 in 577 grottoes, are the major part of extant Buddhist art articles in Dunhuang area with Mogao Grottoes as the principal part. Some are more than 30 meters high and some are only several centimeters high. They are still well preserved after more than 1,000 years. 

The main objects of Dunhuang color sculptures are mainly images of all types of Buddhas, such as Sakyamuni, Maitreya Buddha, and Bhaisajyaguru Buddha, etc., Bodhisattvas such as Kwan-yin, Vajrapani Bodhisattva and other bodhisattvas, as well as disciples, heavenly kings, Hercules and Flying Apsaras, etc. As the grottoes were cut on hard gravels, the traditional clay sculpture was adopted to make Buddhist images. 

 Major Forms

Round Sculptures: The three-dimensional statues can be appreciated in every direction. The method is mainly employed to mold Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and heavenly kings, etc.

Relief Sculptures: They are figures and objects such as plane clothes, ribbons, background and eave, etc, that are molded on a plane.

Shadow Sculptures: They are mostly molded first, then adhered to the walls, and finally painted with colors. Shadow sculptures mainly include Thousand Buddhas and Flying Apsaras, etc.

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