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Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves

Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves 03Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves in Baicheng County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions has 236 caves and over 10 thousand m2 Murals. All the caves were dig on the cliffs and face Muzhate River Valley. The Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves is one of the most famous cultural attractions in Xinjiang.

The term KIZIL in Uighur language means RED. Among the 236 caves only 80 to 90 caves have mural survived from robbery in early 20th century and the murals amounts to more or less 10 000 square meters. Kizil Thousand Caves is the earliest cave and the utmost west caves group dig in China. The excavation work of those Buddhist caves lasts from the 3rd century to the 8th century, which accounts to totally 600 years.

The structures of the Buddhist caves falls into two types: monk abodes and Buddhist figure caves. Monk abodes are for monks accommodation and sitting in mediation. Most caves of that type are bedroom plus channel. Inside bedroom are earth-bed and some necessary daily utensils. The Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves 02Buddhist figure caves are for prayer and Buddhist lessons. According to the inner structure, the Buddhist Caves could be classified as large caves which ones are large in scale and house Buddhist figures on the major walls; the caves with columns inside and the square-shaped caves. The different structured caves have different functions. All the caves are built in certain serials and make up quite a few units. And each unit can be regarded as a Buddhist Temple. From the Buddhist caves row upon row we could imagine the boom of the Buddhist Religion in this area.

According to the experts in field, murals in Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves reflect the life fact of Xinjiang area. Hence the murals are the vivid documents for studying the politics, economy, culture, army, folk and folk-custom of Xinjiang people. And they are also the precious files to research the cultural and economical exchange between China and western world.