Maijishan grottoes, which are one of the four biggest grottoes in China. Located Southeast of Tianshui on a 142 meter high hill, Mt. Maijishan got its name from its natural shaped which looks just like a “wheat-pile hill”.
There are 194 existing caves, in which are preserved more than 7,200 sculptures made from terra cotta and murals covering over 1,200 square meters.
Maijishan grotto’s history can be traced back 1,600 years ago. It is widely regarded that people began constructing this from the later part of the Qin dynasty, while later generations keep digging and repairing throughout the Northern Wei, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, Sui, Tang, Five Dynasties, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
Climbing the steep mountain step by step, we saw weathered but still gorgeous statues of Buddha and monks standing in different caves, delicate murals painted on the clay ceilings of the mountain and sculptures of animals which were carved as a form of worship. Besides, the picturesque scenery complements the grottoes.
Among the 194 grottoes and thousands of sculptures and preserved mural paintings, the eight cliff pavilions built by the Northern Dynasty have long been recognized as a “gallery of oriental sculptures”.
When I walked down and stood at the foot of Mt. Maijishan, I was filled with admiration for the high level of art and intelligence of China’s ancient people. Tianshui is really a place you shouldn’t miss when travelling to Gansu province and Maijishan grotto is a ‘must-see’ when visiting Tianshui.