Asian art

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

bezeklik thousand buddha caves

View our Buddha Statues in our gallery

Just like other thousand Buddha Caves, the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves is also a complex of Buddhist grottos which is located between the cities of Turpan and Shanshan (Loulan) at the north-east of the Taklamakan Desert near the ancient ruins of Gaochang in the Mutou Valley, a gorge in the Flaming Mountains, China. These grottoes are situated high on the cliffs of the west Mutou Valley. It is recorded that the construction of these grottoes was started from the 5th century and completed only in the 14th century, but most of the caves that existed in the current period were constructed during the west Uyghur kingdom around the 10th - 13th centuries.

Buddhist Uyghurs

cities along the silk road

Uyghurs were physically Mongoloid until they mixed with the Tarim Basin's original Indo-European Tocharian inhabitants as suggested by Professor James A. Millward. His explanation was supported by the images of Uyghur patrons housed at temple no. 9 in Bezeklik Caves. It was believed that the Buddhist Uyghur created Brezeklik buddhist arts or murals.

Another researcher, Peter B. Golden writes that the Uyghurs didn't only adopt the religious faiths of the Indo-European Sogdians, they also look them as mentors and followed them as Silk Road traders. This belief is supported by the image of Sogdians wearing silk robes as seen in the pranidhi scene of Bezeklik arts; Sogdians donating the Buddha in Scene 6 from Temple 9.

Albert von Le Coq, another imminent personality, who researched murals of Bezeklik. He suggested that the person in pranidhi scene who was kneeling and praying in front of the Buddha were Persian people with green eyes, wearing the green fur-trimmed coat.

During a ghazat, holy war, the Buddhist Uyghurs of the Kingdom of Qocho and Turfan were converted to Islam by Muslim Chagatai Khanate ruler, Khizr Khoja. After being converted to Islam, the descendants of the previously Buddhist Uyghurs in Turfan believed that instead of their ancestors, Infidel Kalmuks were the people who built Buddhist monuments in their area. This belief was developed since they were not able to retain the memory of their ancestral legacy.

Buddhist art at the Bezeklik grottoes

turpan bezeklik caves

It is recorded that there are around 77 rock-cut caves at this grottoes. Most of the caves at the grottoes have rectangular space and rounded ceilings. The ceilings were divided into four sections, and each section consists of antique Buddhist arts painted on the ceilings. Therefore we can see hundreds of Buddhist arts painted all over the ceiling and walls of the grottoes. Some murals, Buddhist arts painted over the wall or the ceiling, shows a large Painting of Buddha which is surrounded by other figures, including Turks, Indians, and Europeans. Regarding about the quality of the murals, there are various quality murals from nave to the masterpieces. One of the masterpiece Buddhist art of Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves is large sized "Pranidhi Scene" which portrays Sakyamuni Buddha's promise or pranidhi from his past life.

View our collections of statues and arts in our gallery

Due to the Muslim conquest and also Muslim population, the Buddhists arts found inside of the caves have suffered heavy damage. It was recorded that the local Muslim people in that period, also had destroyed the images and arts installed in the cave. The locals also took out the pieces of murals which were used as fertilizer. It was only after late 19th century many explorers visited this place and found the Buddha statues, in pieces and in single, and murals, later they took those artifacts to their homelands. Albert von Le Coq, a German explorer, had also collected some of the best murals, like- large pieces of pranidhi scene which later was sent to Germany and then fixed to the walls in Museum of Ethnology in Berlin. During the Second World War, this Buddhist art was also destroyed along with the Museum when bombarded. But still, other parts of this mural are safely stored in other Museum of the world.

This thousand cave still has its charm and lots of people visits here just to see the magnificent antique Buddha statues and buddhist arts even though most of its parts were destroyed in ancient times.

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Our collections of Buddha statues and arts

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

275 euro
Very early Jain statue with inscriptions

Very early Jain statue with inscriptions

600 euro
Bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

Bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

175 euro
Very special bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Very special bronze Burmese Buddha statue

47,500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Ganesha statue

Old bronze Nepali Ganesha statue

350 euro
Old wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

Old wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

800 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Green Tara

Old bronze Nepali Green Tara

1,350 euro
Special antique marble Jain statue

Special antique marble Jain statue

2,750 euro
Old red Burmese offering vessel

Old red Burmese offering vessel

750 euro
Special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

Special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

7,500 euro
Old marble Hanuman statue

Old marble Hanuman statue

650 euro
Old bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Old bronze Burmese Buddha statue

500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

1,850 euro
Old bronze Manjushri statue

Old bronze Manjushri statue

550 euro
Old bronze nepali Ganesha statue

Old bronze nepali Ganesha statue

250 euro
Old bronze Nepali Lokeshwor statue

Old bronze Nepali Lokeshwor statue

1,750 euro
Old bronze Parvati statue

Old bronze Parvati statue

900 euro
Old bronze Nepali White Tara statue

Old bronze Nepali White Tara statue

325 euro
Antique marble Ganesha statue

Antique marble Ganesha statue

2,850 euro
Old marble Burmese Buddha statue

Old marble Burmese Buddha statue

900 euro
Old Burmese Buddha statue

Old Burmese Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Pair of old marble lion statues

Pair of old marble lion statues

700 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
Special antique Ivory Japanese Zushi shrine

Special antique Ivory Japanese Zushi shrine

14,500 euro
Antique bronze Thai Sukhothai Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Sukhothai Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Antique ivory Japanese figure

Antique ivory Japanese figure

1,500 euro
Old wooden Burmese Monk statue

Old wooden Burmese Monk statue

300 euro
Old wooden Burmese Throne

Old wooden Burmese Throne

1,250 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
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