This cave was constructed in the later period when Guazhou was ruled by the Western Xia. With the diversified contents and art of both exotic and esoteric Buddhism, supported respectively by Chinese and the Tibetans, it is a most representative cave with the most matured and unique art. The cave is rectangular in plan with a dome ceiling. In the central back is an octangular altar with three steps on which stand a few statues of the Qing dynasty. The lower parts of the four walls are platforms of double steps built in the Qing dynasty, on which stand the statues of eighteen arhats. The ceiling is covered with a Mandala: in the center are five Buddhas of five directions. The middle part of the east wall is used for depicting Buddha's life stories, and on the two sides are a mandala of fifty-one headed thousand-armed and thousand-eyed Avalokitesvara of exotic Buddhism, a garbhadhatu-mandala of the esoteric Buddhism, and an illustration of the Sutra on Deva's Questions of exotic Buddhism. On the south wall, starting from the east, are a mandala, the Amitayus sutra illustration and a mandala. The north wall is in the same composition: a mandala, a pure land illustration and a mandala. On the space above the entrance in the west wall is a Vimalakirti sutra illustration, and the both sides of the entrance are respectively used for the illustrations of Manjusri and Samantabhadra. The north and south walls of the corridor are occupied by donor figures.
In the middle of the east wall is a scene of Buddha's life story. To its south side is a fifty-one-headed thousand-armed and thousand-eyed Avalokitesvara and to its north, a eleven-headed, thousand armed and thousand-eyed Avalokitesvara. The fifty-one heads are arranged into several layers, one above another, just like a pagoda. The thousand hands extend from the back of Avalokitesvara like the rays radiated from a dot into every direction. Each hands has a eye in the palm and holds more than 40 kinds of attributes, including the scenes of forging, brewing, husking rice, farming, boats, temples, music instruments, dragon, and kylin. It is the only one in Dunhuang caves.
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber South Wall
From east to west, the south wall contains a mandala, a Amitayus sutra illustration and a mandala.
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber West Wall
A Vimalakirti sutra illustration is depicted on the space above the entrance, on the south side of the entrance is a Samantabhadra illustration and on the north, the Manjusri illustration.
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber North Wall
From east to the west, the north wall contains three pictures: two manladas on both sides and a pure land illustration in the middle. The attendant bodhisattva in the Mandala on the north wall with big breasts and small waists, a corolla on his head and a garland around his neck, holds a branch of the tree, twists his body in the blue aureola and dances gracefully. The artistic treatment embodies a strong style of the Nepalese and Indian art, however, it is the only example among the Dunhuang caves.
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber East Slope
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber South Slope
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber West Slope
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber North Slope
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Main chamber Ceiling
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Corridor South Wall
On the upper part are three female donors, and on the lower part are five female donors painted in the Yuan dynasty.
Yulin Grottoes Cave 003 Corridor North Wall
On the upper part are four male donors, and on the lower part are five male donors painted in the Yuan dynasty
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Dunhuang Grottoes is not only a brilliant art treasure of ancient Chinese civilization, but also an important witness to the dialogue and communication between different civilizations that had taken place on the ancient Silk Road. Guided by cultural relics protection philosophy, this Digital Dunhuang Project is pursuing overall digitization, including collection, processing and storage of the Dunhuang Grottoes and related cultural relics by using advanced science and technology. It integrates all kinds of data including the photos,videos,3D data and other literature data into a digital repository of cave cultural relics which is diversified and intellectual, and can be co-shared globally through Internet. A support system will also be constructed for digital asset management system and digital resource science.
The "Digital Dunhuang" project is of demonstration significance in this century, and it has a long way to go. On the basis of extant achievements, we will continue to innovate and cooperate with others to make unremitting efforts for the permanent preservation and sustainable use of Dunhuang's cultural heritage.