Hanging Temple [悬空寺], Mount Hengshan [恒山]
40 miles SE of Datong [大同], Shanxi [山西]
May 25, 2006


The Hanging Temple, first constructed during the Northern Wei (386-534 AD), is supported by slender horizontal and vertical wooden pillars into a face cliff, to which it seemingly clings precariously. The current structure dates from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) as flood waters from the Heng River below regularly washed the building away in the history. The temple's 40-odd halls contains statues of Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist gods in stone, iron, and bronze.

with college buddy Zhang, Dian [张滇]


Yungang Grottoes [云冈石窟]
Datong [大同], Shanxi [山西]
May 25, 2006


World Cultural Heritage Site
Intro by UNESCO (modified): The Yungang Grottoes, in Datong city, Shanxi Province, with their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, represent the outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Five Caves (Caves 16-20) created by monk Tan Yao [昙曜], with their strict unity of layout and design, constitute a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Chinese Buddhist art.

Frontal view Main Buddha (Sakyamuni), 13.7m (46 ft), Cave 20 “菩提本无树,明镜亦非台。本来无一物,何处惹尘埃?”

Side view. The pointed noise exhibits an Indian and Central Asian feature.

Pagoda, Cave 2
Upper level of the pagoda Buddha, Cave 3. The rounded face and full lips indicate it was a later creation.

Mural, Cave 5 Beautifully carved pagoda, Cave 6

Two Buddhas
One side of the pagoda, Cave 6 Walls full of carved Buddhas, Cave 6

Wooden temple facade of Cave 6

Cave 8 Cave 8
Cave 9 Details of Cave 10

Cave 10 Cave 11
Musicians, Cave 12 Pipa player Hand drummer Small figure supporting the Buddha's arm, Cave 13

Cave 16 Standing Buddha, 15.5m (52 ft), Cave 18

Yan-Bin Jia