Author Topic: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves  (Read 8564 times)

TARA

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China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« on: October 08, 2015, 10:50:14 AM »
Due to to its location along the ancient Silk Road, China's Xinjiang region is a treasure trove of Buddhist temples and art.


BAICHENG: China’s far-flung Xinjiang region may be better-known today for being the heartland of the Uighur Muslim minority, but it also has a treasure trove of Buddhist temples and art due to its location along the ancient Silk Road.

The Kizil Caves in Xinjiang for instance is the earliest major Buddhist cave complex in China. Despite being uncovered in the last century, most of the caves remain closed to the public.

Only top Chinese leaders are allowed to enter due to the caves’ fragile environment, but tourists can visit about eight of the other 230 known cave temples in the area, although photography’s forbidden.

Most of the caves are in bad condition.

According to locals, the Muslim population living in the area, and more recently the Red Guards from China's Cultural Revolution, were responsible for much of the destruction of the caves' interiors, while in the early 20th century German archaeologists removed large pieces of murals from the caves.

More than US$32 million have been spent over the past decade to restore the caves.

“Our academy is mainly focusing on preventative protection, because there are only a few types of materials in the world that we can use to protect the sites - chemical materials,” said Xu Yongming, president of Kucha Academy of Xinjiang. “But I think these will threaten the long-term preservation of the murals.”



A mural is seen in the Kizil Buddha Caves in Baicheng County, Xinjiang, China. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Koh)

Sun Lianqiang is one of those restoring the murals. He spends up to eight hours a day in cramped conditions touching up the artwork.

“These paintings are a few thousand years old, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility, and I’m afraid of doing something wrong, so every step of the way, there’s a huge pressure,” said Sun.

Some of the paintings were done as early as the 3rd century, which makes them more than 2,000 years old, so besides preserving the artwork here, the authorities are also capturing images of these artwork to form an online depository.

“The main goal is still to record all the information,” said Xu. “Since 2005, we’ve done stuff like virtual tours, cave modelling and virtual modelling, so in the event that the cave is damaged, we can reconstruct it based on our online depository.”

Authorities hope that these efforts will help restore the caves as close as possible to their former glory. Thus giving more people the chance to view and admire one of the remaining legacies of the ancient Silk Road.

kris

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2015, 10:37:57 PM »
US$32 million is not a lot of money considering the wealth of China, however, it is really happy to see China is helping to restore the historical Buddhist caves. We need the governments' support and initiatives to preserve such historical sites.

I hope to have a chance to visit these holy Buddhist sites!

fruven

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2015, 11:36:08 PM »
Thanks for the good news. It is a good sign China is starting to preserve its Buddhism heritage although damages have been done to these murals in the past. Buddha images plant seeds of enlightenment therefore it is very beneficial to restore the murals. Hopefully when more murals are restored the public will get the opportunity to see for themselves the efforts of the artisan in the past have spent to create these Buddha images.

Matibhadra

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 06:07:22 AM »
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According to locals, the Muslim population living in the area, and more recently the Red Guards from China's Cultural Revolution, were responsible for much of the destruction of the caves' interiors,

Muslims, including the Islamic State nowadays, have simply carried on the barbaric Jewish scriptural commandment to destroy idols or images of other religions, specially those representing holy beings of any religion and showing a human face. This shows the arrogant, barbaric, destructive, inhuman, violent nature of both Islam and Judaism.

Nowadays, Islamic State terrorists are destroying many invaluable ancient cultural relics such as Assyrian sculptures in Syria and Iraq, plus the Temple of Bel Palmyra, and many others, precisely on the grounds of being “symbols of polytheism”, thus in full compliance with the above mentioned Jewish commandment. Meaningfully enough, it is no secret that Islamic State terrorists are brazenly supported by Israel, the Jewish state.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution just put into practice the teachings of the Jew Karl Marx, the descendant of a dynasty of Jewish rabbis.

Klein

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2015, 08:30:55 AM »
The Chinese government is currently resurrecting Buddhism and Chinese ideology so that their citizens develop ethics, morals and a sense of humanity. Due to the rapid economic growth and tremendous financial success during recent years, their citizens have been too caught up with material abundance that many have resorted to cut throat methods at the demise of others. As the saying goes, they have no problem selling their grandmother for a dollar.

Preserving and restoring these important Buddhist artworks will also enable the younger generation to realise that Buddhism has been part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. Buddhism was the spiritual back bone of the Chinese. It was through Buddhist Emperors like Emperor Kangxi who used Buddhist methods to govern his kingdom resulting in decades of abundance, peace and harmony.

eyesoftara

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2015, 09:37:17 AM »
China is vast in its cultural and religious history. Almost all the major religions of the were accepted by China. Going back as far as the times the Mongols Genghis Khan and his grand son Kublai Khan, emissaries from all over the world including the Vatican and the Khanates of the Middle-East including from the Bagdad were sent to China. In those times, including during the Ching Dynasty, religion and its culture were very well accepted and tolerated.
Hence, the restorations the Xinjiang Buddhist caves are a welcomed effort towards the positive direction for humanity. China, has certainly come a long way and I rejoice.

Matibhadra

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2015, 02:30:16 PM »
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As the saying goes, they have no problem selling their grandmother for a dollar.

What a preconceived, gratuitous, grossly racist remark!

Whoever has had a minimum of acquaintanceship with Chinese people coming from different regions of China will witness how deeply ingrained is their respect, even veneration for their parents. This is the result of their millenial exposition to the healthy influence of teachings from Confucionism, Taoist, Buddhism, and many local ethnic religions, and their relative freedom from the corrupting influence of Judaism.

Of course, a few Westernized Chinese, corrupted under such Jewish influence, may indeed despise their ancestors, just because the very nature of Judaism is precisely to corrupt non-Jews, inducing them to deny their own roots, their religion, their gods, their traditions, and therefore their ancestors. The Jewish maniac Jesus bold-facely said that he came “in order to put son against father and daughter against mother”.

Therefore, you should think better before polluting this website with your obnoxiously racist, hateful remarks.

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2015, 01:50:07 AM »
Preserving precious ancient artwork pieces is the main aim for the Chinese government as it brings in huge tourists dollars to the region, tourism and country. On the other hand, it is to preserve ancient artwork to be admired and studied by many scholars. Many of these art pieces had been looted by foreigners. Why? Because it brings in the dollars and it is highly valued by art collectors.

Destroying artworks are politically motivated to derail the minds and culture of that country. War minded people have no love for art, I have to say. However, with the acception of Hitler, he knew how to preserve artworks which his regime kept during the war.

grandmapele

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2015, 02:57:30 PM »
Why do people persists on trying to delete history. it's like trying to say that your parent were not born. So, how did you exist? China is trying to make amends and recognizing their history. Not making judgement but admitting they have a past. And, that is beautiful.

Andrea Keating

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2015, 04:40:17 AM »
Thanks for sharing the article.  This reminded me of DunHuang and I went to search a bit more about it.  This is what I found and would like to share it with the readers here.  Hope it interest you!

The Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves were renamed Chinese Second Dunhuang, which referred to Mogao Grottos. Some experts predicted that the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves, which locates at 70 kilometers west of Kuche County, would be much more famous than Mogao Grottos in Dunhuang. The Caves were built from 3rd century to 13th century, with total 236 caves and mural about 10 thousand square meters. This is the largest Buddhist cultural relics in Xinjiang Region and has been listed as Important Historical Monuments under Special Preservation.

According to the historical records, Kuche County was the location of Ancient Qiu Ci Kingdom, which is established by Aryan people 2000 years ago. The Qiu Ci Kingdom was founded in 176 B. C. and destroyed by Uighur Empire in 1001 A. D. This kingdom, existed for more than 1000 years, was one of the thirty-six kingdoms in western region of China. It’s territory covered basin oasis of Kuche, Sayram Oasis, Bycheng Oasis, Aksu Oasis, Xinhe Oasis, Xayar Oasis, and Luntai Oasis.

In East Han Dynasty, Buddhism was introduced into Xinjiang Region from the Silk Road and was prosperous for a thousand years. When the Buddhism flourished, Qiu Ci Kingdom built the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves and temples. The carving of this cave was begun in East Han Dynasty and ended in Tang Dynasty. Until seventh century, the communication of Buddhism in Qiu Ci reached a summit.

Shugdener

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 02:00:49 PM »
It is good to hear that China has allocated a portion of money to preserve historical Buddhist caves in Xinjiang.

It is good to see that they are keen on preserving these sites, these sites are holy sites to the Buddhism culture and at the same time are some historical landmarks being part of the ancient Silk Road.

$23 million might not be a lot considering the amount of damage done by the Muslim population staying around there as well as the Red Guards from China's Cultural Revolution but it is a good start and I pray and hope that China will keep up their good work!

Joo Won

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2016, 01:30:09 PM »
The Kizil Cave in Xinjiang is located on the northern bank of the Muzat River 65 kilometres (75 km by road) west of Kucha. This area was a commercial hub of the Silk Road. The caves are said to be the earliest major Buddhist cave complex in China,[3] with development occurring between the 3rd and 8th centuries. It's earlier than the famous Mogao Grottoes (DunHuang Grottoes).

The Kizil Caves complex is the largest of the ancient Buddhist cave sites that are associated with the ancient Tocharian kingdom of Kucha, as well as the largest in Xinjiang. Other cave sites in the Kucha region include the Kumtura Caves and Simsim Caves.

There are 236 cave temples in Kizil, carved into the cliff stretching from east to west for a length of 2 km. There are three other types of caves: square caves, caves with large image, and monastic cells (viharas). Around two-thirds of the caves are viharas which are monks' living quarters and store-houses, and these caves do not contain mural paintings.

In the years 1906 and 1913, Albert von Le Coq, as part of the German expedition team, visited the Kizil cave site, in Xinjiang Province China. There, the German archaeologist was astounded by the great beauty of the ultramarine used in the murals decorating the walls. The "ultramarine" mentioned here was derived from the mineral lapis lazuli, ultramarine comes from stones said only to have been mined in Afghanistan.

In addition to the rich use of ultramarine, Le Coq was also surprised by the fact that “there was … not the slightest sign in the paintings of any East Asiatic influences.

Despite its geographic proximity to China, the Buddhist art preserved in the Kizil grottoes showed a perplexing lack of Chinese elements; displaying instead more Indian and Persian (Iranian) influence.

The Main Room of the cave, which murals on various themes are displayed on the side walls of the main room. These include paintings on the theme of the Jâtaka Tales, which are stories about the life of the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni; paintings on the theme of the Illustrated Biographies of His Life, which depict the episodes from his life; and paintings on the theme of the Preaching Scenes which depict various stories about the Sakyamuni’s preaching after Enlightenment...

Here are some of the murals:



 

Pema8

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2016, 02:27:01 PM »
These are definitely precious both in art and in spiritual point of view.

Thank you for sharing the pictures and news. I am most happy that the Chinese respect their culture and religious background and to put effort into restoring and maintaining the caves for future generations. This is for sure also a tourist attraction.

Matibhadra

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 06:05:46 AM »
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This is for sure also a tourist attraction.

Another reason behind China's effort to preserve Xinjiang's historical Buddhist caves is to counter the Turkic Uyghur nationalistic and separatist propaganda that the Uyghurs, are the “original inhabitants of Xinjiang”.

The Buddhist caves in Xinjiang show that the Tarim Basin, before being Turkified and Islamicized by the Uyghurs, was the center of the powerful Buddhist, Indo-European Tocharian civilization, itself deeply connected with China.

The Turkic, Muslim Uyghurs tried to erase or denigrate this non-Turkic, non-Muslim past from history, and China, preserving Xinjiang's historical Buddhist caves, counters this perfidious propaganda.

Incidentally, what the Uyghurs and other Muslims do is exactly what Christian Europeans have done for 2000 years, that is, to erase or denigrate non-Christian, dismissively called “pagan”, past of the peoples they overcome.

This pattern of erasing or denigrating previous cultures is itself inherited from Judaism, wherefrom both Islam and Christianity branched out. This evil trio of Abrahamic religions is what the Kalachakra Tantra described as “barbaric” or “mleccha”.

Therefore, we all owe the deepest thanks to China for its effort to preserve the cultural inheritance of humanity, thus protecting such precious inheritance from the fanatic, obsessive, destructive drive of barbaric, Abrahamic religions.

TARA

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Re: China works to preserve Xinjiang's Historical Buddhist caves
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2017, 10:47:45 PM »
Quote
This is for sure also a tourist attraction.

Another reason behind China's effort to preserve Xinjiang's historical Buddhist caves is to counter the Turkic Uyghur nationalistic and separatist propaganda that the Uyghurs, are the “original inhabitants of Xinjiang”.

The Buddhist caves in Xinjiang show that the Tarim Basin, before being Turkified and Islamicized by the Uyghurs, was the center of the powerful Buddhist, Indo-European Tocharian civilization, itself deeply connected with China.

The Turkic, Muslim Uyghurs tried to erase or denigrate this non-Turkic, non-Muslim past from history, and China, preserving Xinjiang's historical Buddhist caves, counters this perfidious propaganda.

Incidentally, what the Uyghurs and other Muslims do is exactly what Christian Europeans have done for 2000 years, that is, to erase or denigrate non-Christian, dismissively called “pagan”, past of the peoples they overcome.

This pattern of erasing or denigrating previous cultures is itself inherited from Judaism, wherefrom both Islam and Christianity branched out. This evil trio of Abrahamic religions is what the Kalachakra Tantra described as “barbaric” or “mleccha”.

Therefore, we all owe the deepest thanks to China for its effort to preserve the cultural inheritance of humanity, thus protecting such precious inheritance from the fanatic, obsessive, destructive drive of barbaric, Abrahamic religions.

Thank you Matibhadra for this piece of informative historical input.  You are well read and learned.