Mogao Grottoes
- Cave 249

Mogao Grottoes Cave 249

Constructed in the late Northern Wei and the early Western Wei, this single-chambered cave is square in plan with a truncated pyrmidal ceiling. The ceiling center features a combination motif of an inverted lotus, flames, honeysuckles and lotuses. The four slopes are devoted to the paintings of "the heaven and earth with various images." The upper part depicts a world where Buddhism coexists with Taoism. In the center of the west slope is four-armed four-eyed Asura guarded by two dragons standing in the sea and holding the sun and the moon in his hands. Behind him are Mt.Sumeru and the Tusita Heaven. On both sides of Mt. Sumeru are gods of the Thunder, the Lightning, Wind and Rain who created a scene of thunder and lighting, in addition to the Scarlet Bird, Wuhuo, Garuda and apsaras. In the upper center of the east slope is a Mani Pearl held high by two guardian warriors and flanked by apsaras. The Scarlet Bird and the peacock fly towards each other. The image of King Father of the East on the upper part of the north slope is partly damaged, but his four-dragon-drawn chariot is still visible. The Queen Mother of the West on the south slope wears a high chignon and loose-bodied robe. She sits on a three-phoenix-drawn chariot sheltered by a parasol. A large arch niche in the west wall contains a central Buddha and two bodhisattvas. The heads have been renovated. The central Buddha sits with legs pendent, wears Sankaksika, cross-collared Chinese robe and an outer red Kasaya, open in the front, which has a knot at the chest. The left hand was renovated in later times. On the west end of the side walls, two bodhisattvas stand symmetrically on a lotus throne with necklaces. They slantly wear a long skirt. The four walls are divided into three registers. The top registers of the four walls form a circle of heavenly musicians. On the middle register inside and out side of the west niche are apsaras, attendent bodhisattvas, Vasistha and Mrgasirsa; The two side walls each have a preaching scene in the center with rows of donor figures surrounded by the thousand Buddha motifs. On the lower register are guardian warriors. The front chamber of this cave collapsed completely and the east and north slopes of the ceilings are also partly damaged. The remaining parts are basically intact.



Mogao Grottoes Cave 249
Ttruncated Pyramidal Ceiling
Mogao Grottoes
Dunhuang Academy