22 Facts About Kizil Caves


The caves of Kizil are the earlier of their type in China, and their model was later adopted in the construction of Buddhist caves further east.

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Kizil Caves were inscribed in 2014 on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor World Heritage Site.

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Kizil Caves complex is the largest of the ancient Buddhist cave sites that are associated with the ancient Tocharian kingdom of Kucha, as well as the largest in Xinjiang.

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Kizil Caves used a canvas to take quite precise records of the paintings.

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Grunwedel discovered that the Kizil Caves were essential in the understanding of the development of Buddhist art, and suggested some forms of Western artistic influences as well:.

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The early art of Kizil Caves correspond to the Western school of art in the Tarim Basin, and mainly displays influences from Gandhara and the Iranian world, particularly influence from the Hephtalites, and no influence from East Asia.

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Kizil Caves were designated by the Germans by a series of names, and have been separately numbered by the Chinese.

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Notable feature of the murals in Kizil Caves is the extensive use of blue pigments, including the precious ultramarine pigment derived from lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

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Kizil Caves is dressed in a bordered and turned-up, collarless tunic with close-fitting sleeves.

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Kizil Caves wears gray calf boots with cruciate ligaments that run under the sole.

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The influence of the art of Gandhara in some of the paintings at the Kizil Caves, dated to circa 500 CE, is considered as a consequence of the political unification of the area between Bactria and Kucha under the Hephthalites.

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The clothing style of the painters at Kizil Caves has often been described as Sasanian, but is rather considered as Hephthalite due to the similarities with the figures in Bamiyan, Dilberjin Tepe or Balalyk Tepe.

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Kizil Caves has a label written in Sanskrit : "The Painter Tutuka" .

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Kizil Caves wears a long white caftan decorated with small diamond designs, and has long boots.

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Kizil Caves's Queen wears a long robe, and his two sons, Princes, wear ornate caftan and are fair-haired.

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Kizil Caves explains that the cave is located high up on the right side of the ravine, which accounts for the fact that its murals have been preserved from the usual iconoclastic vandalism: the faces in particular are well preserved.

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Towards the end of its florescence, Kizil Caves saw the emergence of the domed central pillar cave, a type of "central pillar" structure, with niche and circumambulating corridor, but with a very uncharacteristic near-cubic main cella crowned by a magnificent cupola decorated with divinities.

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Albert Grunwedel, one of the German discovers of the Kizil Caves, found in Saint-Peterburg a 13th-century Tibetan text related to Kucha and the Kizil Caves, including a map, which describes the caves from the perspective of Tantric Buddhism.

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Kizil Caves had the caves painted by restorers and painters: Mitradatta; Naravahanadatta from the lands of the "naked ones" ; Priyaratna from Romakam ; and other experts in restoration.

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The art of the Kizil Caves is thought to have influenced cave art at Dunhuang, in the Mogao Caves, as early as during the Northern Liang dynasty, and pictorial arts in China thereafter.

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Since their construction and decoration between the 4th and 8th centuries CE, the Kizil Caves have suffered numerous periods of religious vandalism and decay.

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Kizil Caves were first named in German by Albert Grunwedel based on various individual characteristics.

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