The Mogao Grottoes
- Cave 390

The Mogao Grottoes Cave 390 Sui Dynasty(A.D.581-618)

Located on the upper level of the Southern Area at Mogao, this cave was constructed in the Late Sui dynasty and renovated in the Five Dynasties and Qing dynasty. Its main chamber is a hall cave with a truncated pyramidal ceiling. The ceiling center features a pattern of lotuses and twisted vines, around it are draperies with triangular and pearled borders. The four slopes are covered with the thousand Buddha motifs. There is a double-recessed niche in the west wall, containing a seven-figure group: a central Buddha seated with legs pendent, two disciples (already lost) and four bodhisattvas (renovated in the Qing dynasty). On the top of the niche are 12 flying apsaras in different positions. On the wall behind the Buddha statue is a nimbus of flames and incarnated boys flanked by nine bodhisattvas on either side. Below them are images of Vasistha and Mrgasirsa. The outer niche has a lintel decorated with flames and lotuses, which is divided into the upper and lower level by pearled borders. The upper one contains a Mani Pearl with flames, and the lower one has a seated bodhisattva. On both sides are lotuses with twisted stems. On the The top of the ceiling are six apsaras, while on the two side parts are dragon-headed niche beam and lotus-decorated niche pillars. The south and north sides out of the niche are divided into three levels, one above another respectively for heavenly palaces, seven seated Buddhas, and male, female donors and attendants from top down. On the top of the four walls are apsaras leaning against the railings of heavenly palaces. The south wall is divided into three levels from top down respectively ; Upper with ten musician apsaras and fifteen seated Buddhas, a central preaching scene of Avalokitesvara flanked by 18 dhyana Buddhas, and lower with 26 female donors in high-waist skirts of the Sui dynasty and nine donor figures of the Five Dynasties. The north wall is also divided into three levels: Upper with ten apsaras leaning against the railings of heavenly palaces and fifteen seated Buddhas on the upper, a central preacing scene in which the Buddha wears a crown with a manifested Buddha image, and eight dhyana Buddhas on either side, and lower with 47 donors of the Sui dynasty and 28 male donors of the Five Dynasties. The top part of the east wall contains 17 preaching scenes each wtih one Buddha flanked by two bodhisattvas. Above the entrance is a picture of seven Buddhas, painted in the Sui dynasty. On each side of the entrance are eight dhyana Buddhas above the entrance are oxen, horse-drawn chariots and several Five Dynasty male donors. There are 116 preaching scenes altogether in this cave, in each the central seated Buddha holds different mudras and has different bodhi trees and canopies. This cave has the largest number of preaching scenes at Mogao. On the top of the corridor is a picture of Ksitigabha and the Ten Kings painted in the Five Dynasties. There is an inscription with the words "Monk Daoming." The north and south sides are used for the illustrations of Manjusri and Samantabhadra, each containing female donors below (most of which are obscured). The murals in the front chamber all date back to the Five Dynasties. On the two sides of the entrance in the west wall are scenes of Vaishravana attending a preaching scene. On the upper part to the south of the entrance depicts an image of Amogha-pasa, on the middle, an illustration of Panikarasuttau, and on the north side, an illustration of the Amitabha sutra, most of which is preserved. On the north and south walls are traces of the disciples, bodhisattvas, and donors, most of them are obscured.



The Mogao Grottoes Cave 390
Dunhuang Academy