Precious repositories of piety and prestige
A life-size replica of Cave 285 of the Mogao site, dating to the 6th century, on display at the Palace Museum in Beijing last year. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]
The Hexi grottoes are a wonderful example of the rich cultural connectivity of the ancient Silk Road, Wang Kaihao reports.
For centuries, ancient caravans and explorers from various civilizations traveled along the 1,000-kilometer-long Hexi Corridor in present-day Gansu province. The "West of the River" route was a vital artery of the Silk Road that, as its name indicates, connected the region by the Yellow River to the desert to the west.
As well as traders and adventurers, Buddhist monks also endured the hardships of life on the road. Perhaps traveling in solitude, accompanied only by their faith and inner peace, beginning around the 3rd century they endeavored to widely spread their religion. Today, there is a marvelous legacy of the fruits of their labors－the numerous Buddhist grottoes carved in the mountains.