Mogao monastic cluster, (towards) Dunhuang, Gansu, CN

Raw data

"The Mogao Caves, or Mogao Grottoes (Chinese: 莫高窟; pinyin: Mògāo kū) (also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas and Dunhuang Caves) form a system of 492 temples 25 km (15.5 miles) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. Construction of the Buddhist cave shrines began in 366 AD as places to store scriptures and art."

Input by: tmciolek, Feb 23 2009

"The construction of the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang is generally taken to have begun sometime in the fourth century CE. According to a [… Tang Dynasty book "An Account of Buddhist Shrines"], a Buddhist monk named Lè Zūn (樂尊, which may also be pronounced Yuezun) had a vision of a thousand Buddhas bathed in golden light at the site in 366 CE, inspiring him to build a cave here.[3] The story is also found in other sources, such as in inscriptions on a stele in cave 332, an earlier date of 353 CE however was given in another document, Shazhou Tujing (沙州土鏡, Geography of Shazhou).[4] He was later joined by a second monk Faliang (法良), and the site gradually grew, by the time of the Northern Liang a small community of monks had formed at the site. […] By the Tang Dynasty, the number of caves had reached over a thousand.[5]"

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 03 Oct 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Mogao monastic cluster, China.

General location of the Mogao monastic cluster, China.
lat=40.0333 long=94.9167
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20CN)&ll=40.0333,94.9167&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Mogao monastic cluster

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • China:Gansu Sheng

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0367-99c - tmciolek 03 Oct 2013
0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-ex

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • c. 1300 CE

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 03 Oct 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • "The architectural structure and painting themes of these caves are similar" to that of the Dunhuang caves - Ning Qiang (1997-2000).

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • art historical, textual

16. Additional notes

  • A cluster of 492 temples

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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