Mogao Grottoes
- Cave 302

Mogao Grottoes Cave 302

Constructed in the Sui dynasty and Renovated in the Five Dynasties, this cave consists of a main chamber, a corridor and a front chamber. The main chamber has a gabled ceiling in the front and a central pillar connecting the ground with the flat ceiling in the back. On the two slopes of the gabled ceiling are jataka tales painted in two horizontal bands, and on the flat ceiling are pictures of the Sui dynasty preaching scenes and painted laternendecke motifs. The central pillar is shaped like Mt. Sumeru formed by a seven-stepped inverted pagoda on the upper and a two-stepped square base on the ground. There is a arch niche in each side of the central pillar. The east one contains the statues of a Buddha and two disciples (the one on the north side is lost) and two bodhisattva statues flanking the entrance (the one on the north side is preserved, though damaged partly). The niche has a painted lintel in bas-relief with a dragon-headed beam and pillars decorated with lotus motifs. The niche in the south side contains a statue of the Buddha and two bodhisattvas (renovated in the Qing dynasty). On each side out of the niche is a statue of bodhisattva (the one on the west side is lost). The niche in the west side contains a central Buddha flanked by two disciples renovated in the Qing dynasty. The niche in the north side also contains a three-figure group renovated in the Qing dynasty, and the two statues out of the niche are lost. Beneath the paintings on the north side of the central pillar below the niche can be seen some words "June 11 in the fourth year of Kaihuang era," which indicates when this cave was constructed (around 584 CE), hence the name "Cave of the fourth year of Kaihuang era." This inscription with exact date is not only a reliable evidence for dating the Sui dynasty caves, but also a criterion for studying the artistic styles of the caves of that period. A large niche with a double recesses dug out of the west wall contains a five-figure group: a central Buddha, two disciples, and two bodhisattvas (without head). Flanked the nimbus on the inner niche wall are two images of incarnated boys. The lower part out of the niche are eight bhiksunis of the Song dynasty, beneath which are traces of the Sui dynasty paintings. On the ceiling of the niche are images of ten heavenly musicians. The upper part of the south wall depicts twelve heavenly musicians, railings and draperies from west to east, and the middle part is covered with the thousand Buddha motifs, amid which is a preaching scene of the Medicine Buddha, and a double-recessed niche housing a central Buddha and two disciples (only the disciple on the west side is preserved) and two bodhisattvas on outer niche (only the one on the east is preserved). The niche lintel is decorated with honeysuckle motifs. On the back part is a preaching scene. On the junction of the south wall and the ground are nine bhiksus and male donors of the Song dynasty, beneath are traces of the Sui dynasty paintings. On the upper part of the north wall is a preaching scene of Sakyamuni and Prabhutaratna which was damaged by a hole dug through the wall; on the part connecting the ground are a row of the Song dynasty donor figures, beneath are traces of the Sui dynasty paintings. The top of the east wall are occupied by heavenly musicians, railings and draperties, and on the space above the entrance is a preaching scene flanked by the thousand Buddha motifs in addition to bhiksus and donors. On the tent-like ceiling of the corridor is a scene of the thousand-armed and thousand-eyed Avalokitesvara of the Song dynasty, and on each of the side walls are four dhyana Buddhas of the Song dynasty. Most of the ceiling in the front chamber has collapsed. On each side of the entrance in the west wall is a scene of Vaishravana attending Nezha\'s assembly dating back to the Song dynasty. On the upper part of the entrance are respectively an illustration of the Cintamani-cakra and of the Amogha-pasa, and the middle parts are filled with scenes of four dragons paying respect to the Buddha.



Mogao Grottoes Cave 302
Central Pillar
Mogao Grottoes
Dunhuang Academy