Longmen was called “yique” in the spring and Autumn period and Warring States period. Xiangshan Mountain (East Mountain) and Longmen Mountain (West Mountain) faced each other from east to west, and Yishui flowed through them, forming a magnificent gate que. Later, because it was in the south of the Sui and Tang Dynasties, it was also called Longmen.
The so-called “Grottoes” are the straight holes dug in the cliffs or natural caves, which are used to hide or store food and things. As early as in the primitive society, people have used natural caves to depict animal images and life scenes. However, the emergence of grotto temples as places for Buddhists and monks to worship and practice Buddhism emerged after the rise of Buddhism in ancient India.
Because of the quietness and mystery of the mountain forest, the warm winter and cool summer of the grottoes, it is more convenient and durable to carve the grottoes along the mountain than to build the temples with bricks and stones. Therefore, in ancient India, a grotto Temple integrating architecture, painting and carving art has emerged. This kind of grotto temple art, along with the monks’ missionary activities, has been introduced into the border areas and the interior of China. It has become a unique carving and painting technology in China, which is integrated with the national characteristics and traditional artistic techniques and styles of China. The Longmen Grottoes we are going to see today is one of the treasures of many temples in China.
In addition to the advantages mentioned above, there is also a natural condition that can not be ignored in the sculpture of Longmen Grottoes. The cliffs on both sides of Yishui belong to the Paleozoic Cambrian and Ordovician limestone. The stone is hard and compact in structure. It is not suitable for weathering and large-scale fracture. It is very suitable for artistic sculpture. Compared with other sand rocks, it has favorable conditions for preservation.
Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang is another large group of grottoes built by the royal family after Dunhuang Grottoes in Gansu Province and Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Shanxi Province. It was built in the reign of Taihe in the Northern Wei Dynasty. It has gone through the Eastern Wei Dynasty, the Western Wei Dynasty, the Northern Qi Dynasty, the Northern Zhou Dynasty, the Sui and Tang Dynasties, and the Five Dynasties to the Qing Dynasty. More than 400 years ago. Among them, large-scale and efficient construction took about 150 years, respectively in the Northern Wei Dynasty (accounting for more than 40 years) and the Sui and Tang Dynasties (accounting for about 110 years). The large and small niches and statues of Longmen Grottoes are scattered on the cliffs of the East and West Mountains of Longmen along the two sides of Yishui River, with a length of 1 km from north to south.