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The Liupan Mountains Area

The Guyuan Sumeru Mountain Grottoes

The grottoes are situated on the east side of the Mount Sumeru, 320 km southeast of Yinchuan City, and 55 km away from the proper of Guyuan County. They are key historical relics protected by the state.


The grottoes were cut during the mid and late period of the Northern Wei Dynasty, dating back more than 1400 years. During the Tang period, large-scale Buddhist temples had appeared in the place. And about 100 grottoes were scattered on eight mountain cliffs, known at that time as "Jingyun Temple" (colorful cloud). During the period of the reign of Emperor Yingzong of Ming, the master monk Zuoji Wangsu wrote to the emperor to confer the temple the name of "Yuanguang Temple" (round brightness). Through the time of years and erosions of rain and wind, in addition to destroys by men and earthquakes, only about 20 grottoes of images have been left over intact to the present time. They are mainly distributed on five mountain cliffs. So far in the Nos. 45 and 46 grottoes where have the most statues of Buddha, there are more than 40 statues larger than the life size. The No. 51 grotto though damaged by earthquake, can still be defined its composition of structures. On the tall and square column of the pagoda, there are niches on the four sides, in each of which there are statues of one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas, and inside, a rectangular altar is placed on which three statues of Great Buddha of six meters high are seated in a row with heroic spirits. They are treasured relics of sculptured statues.

In the grottoes on the Mount Sumeru, there are also inscriptions and engraved stone tablets of Tang, Song, Western Xia, Jin and Ming, providing precious materials for the study of the grotto arts and the society and history of that time.

With their unique artistic charm and outstanding artistic level, the grottoes on the Mount Sumeru show the fact that the cultural exchange between the Western regions and China had been carried out along the Silk Road at that time.

The Guyuan Museum


Situated in the seat of Guyuan County, the Guyuan Museum covers an area of 28,000 square meters, of which the building area covers 5000 square meters. In the museum, there are four exhibition halls. It is a group of constructions modeling after antique architecture.

The museum now keeps more than 10,000 pieces of historical relics. Apart from a number of valuable relics unearthed from the tombs, the museum also keeps exquisitely made stone tools and jade articles of Neolithic Age and various painted pottery vessels of the Yangshao, Majiayao, and Qijia cultures and various kinds of weapons such as bronze daggers with animal patterns and bronze decorative boards dating from the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods. The museum's most valuable relics include the gilt silver pot of the Sassanid Dynasty of Persia and the glass bowls unearthed from the tomb of Li Xian of Northern Zhou, which represent the relics of Silk Road, and they are also the most valuable treasures of the state, well known in the whole world.

The Liupan Mountains


One of China's youngest mountain ranges, the Liupan Mountains are located in the intersection of Ning Xia, Gansu and Shaanxi. They extend more than 200 km long and are about 3000 meters above sea level. They are an important watershed in North China. They are the sources of the Jing, Qingshui and Hulu rivers. which are branches of the Yellow River.

It is said that the mountain has no summer time. Its main peak is 3800 meters above sea level. About 788 species of super class plants are growing there with high forest covering an area of 26000 hectares. There are 38 species of beasts, 200 kinds of vertebrate animals and 147 kinds of birds dwelling there.

The mountain has long been well known for its beautiful landscape. Genghis khan had stationed his troops there when he conquered Western Xia. Later he died there. In 1935, Chairman Mao Zedong leading the Red Army of Workers and Peasants reached there and wrote a poem "Liupanshan". Today, a pavilion has been built in memory of the Long March.

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