Great Wall Hiking | China Adventure Tours | China City Tours | China Package Tours | Tibet Tours | Yangtze Cruise | Beijing Cool Hotels | Beijing Tour| About Us | Contact Us
China City Package
 
> Beijing > Chengdu
> Chongqing > Dalian
> Dunhuang > Guangzhou
> Guilin > Guiyang
> Hong Kong > Huangshan
> Hangzhou > Hohhot, Inner
   Mongolia
> Jinan > Jiuzhaigou
> Kunming > Lanzhou
> Lijiang > Luoyang
> Nanjing > Lhasa  Tibet
> Qingdao > Shanghai
> Shenzhen > Suzhou
> Urumqi >  Xi'an
> Xining > Xishuangbanna
> Sanya > Zhengzhou
> Chengde > Zhangjiajie
> Taiyuan > Pingyao

Lanzhou  Tour of  Maiji Caves


     Located 45 kilometers (about 28 miles) southeast of Tianshui City in Gansu Province, Maiji Mountain rises up abruptly 142 meters (about 155 yards) from the landscape. The people named the mountain 'Maiji' because it resembles a stack of wheat straw (mai meaning wheat, and ji meaning stack).

     On the sheer cliff that marks the southwest side of Maiji Mountain, people have labored for centuries carving niches and caves, giving rise to what is known today as the Maiji Caves. Inside the caves are clay statues, whose heights vary from 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) to 15 meters (over 49 feet). Besides 194 Buddhist caves and niches, containing more than 7, 200 clay statues, there are also murals of over 1, 300 square meters (about 1, 555 square yards) in the Maiji Caves as well. These statues are works of art that reflect ancient craftsmanship and dedication to the Buddhist ideal. Rarely can one find caves and statues carved over sheer cliffs in China, and this is one of the most distinguishing features of Maiji Caves. Being carved on the cliff, these caves are connected by plank roads that hang precariously along the face of the cliff. Visitors can only reach each cave by using these plank roads, which offers a breathtaking experience.

     Work on the Maiji caves began in the late Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC), progressing through to the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). The Northern Wei (386 - 534) period was also a time of its great prosperity, and Buddhism began to prevail as a cultural force. Subsequent dynasties added to and sometimes rebuilt the caves according to the styles of the era. Interestingly, although the statues were built at the same location, none of them maintained a similar style with those preceding it. Statues from each dynasty clearly developed distinct elements.

     Another curious feature of the statues is their trend toward secularization, that is, a move toward depicting the icons as man rather than god. Except for statues built in the early period, almost all Buddhist statues look affable and accessible. They were no longer gods standing high in the heaven, but rather became more like common people.

     Because of its exquisite clay statues and superb sculptural skills, Maiji Caves acquired special recognition. They have been classified as an 'Oriental Statues Exhibition Hall'. Maiji Caves are one of the four most important caves in China. The other threes are Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, Yungang Caves in Datong, Shanxi Province, and Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan Province. Their emphasis is on exquisite statues and beautiful natural scenes, while the others' are on florid murals or magnificent stonecutting.

     There are other places of interest near Maiji Mountain as well, Xianren Cliff, Shimen Mountain, Quxi and Maiji Arboretum, all offer fine panoramic views of mountains, rivers and plants in Northwest China.

     Tour Lanzhou with Great Wall Adventure Club, the best  Lanzhou tour agent to help you with your hotel booking and transfers.


Great Wall Hiking | China City Tours | China Package Tours | Shanghai 2010 World Expo | China Discount Hotels | China Adventure Tours | China Tours | Sitemap  

Copyright 2011 The Great Wall Adventure Club (Beijing), a North America Commerce International (NACI) company.®