The Mogao Grottoes
- Cave 301

The Mogao Grottoes Cave 301 Northern Zhou Dynasty(A.D.557-581)

Constructed in the Northern Zhou dynasty, this cave consists of a main chamber, a corridor and a front chamber. The main chamber is square in plan and has a truncated pyramidal ceiling. In the center of the ceiling is a painted motif of laternendecke with lotuses and draperies extending to the four slopes. In the center of the west slope are a Lotus and a Mani Pearl flanked by six musicians and apsaras on either side. Below them is the niche beam decorated with motifs of flame, lotus and incarnated boys. The scenes on the south and east slopes form a complete Sattva Jataka. The scenes on the south slope mainly include the episodes of Prince Sattva leaving the palace, hunting, and taking a break. And those on the east slope include episodes of feeding the tiger and building a pagoda. Below are celestial musicians, six apsaras, and draperies. The north slope is devoted to the Samaka Jataka, which consists of the episodes of worshipping the blind parents (on the west side) and King of Kashi\'s hunting (east side). Below them are six celetial musicians and apsaras. The figures in the story paintings wore Chinese style attire, and the painting style inherited the tradition of the Central Plains. An arch niche is dug out of the west wall housing a statue of seated Buddha with legs pendent. Behind the statue on the wall is a nimbus consisting of a circle of manifested Buddha images, and a Buddha inside flames. Each of the upper side behind the Buddha are two apsaras holding music instruments and the lower side with two precious pearls. On the niche lintel in bas-relief are colorful flames and incarnated boys. The niche pillars are decorated with lotuses with a dragon\'s head on the top. On both north and south sides out of the niche are two bodhisattvas and two statues of bodhisattvas, only the lotus thrones are preserved today. Below the niche are lotus patterns.The south wall in the main chamber contains a preaching scene in the center surrounded by the thousand Buddha motifs, below which are yakshas (only two preserved). There is a bhiksu, seventeen male donor figures and a yakshas in the lower part on the west side, and twelve female donor figures on the east side. Some paintings on this wall were damaged due to a hole cut through the wall in the Qing dynasty. The murals on the north wall are symmetrical to those on the south wall: a preaching scene (half of it was damaged by the hole cut through the wall) amid the thousand Buddha motifs. The west lower part contains three bhiksus, fourteen male donor figures and a yaksha, while the opposite side contains eighteen bhiksus and eight donors. The space above the entrance in the east wall is divided into upper and middle and lower sections. The upper section on is covered with the thousand Buddha motifs, the middle section on the south side contains three female donors, chariots drawn by oxen and two attendants, while the middle one on the north side contains two bhiksus, and six male donors. Below them are three bhiksus and three male donors.



The Mogao Grottoes Cave 301
Dunhuang Academy