The Longmen Grottoes are located 12km south of modern Luoyan City, Henan Province, are a treasure house of ancient Buddhist cave art. The grottos were hewed and carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), when the rulers relocated their capital at Luoyang near the end of the 5th century. At that time Buddhism was spreading east into China and was venerated by the imperial court. The Buddhists adopted the practice of carving rock temples, dedicated to the Buddha.
The construction of the Longmen Grottoes began in 493 during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen and continued through the successive six dynasties, including Tang and Song, for a span of over 400 years. Altogether there are 1,352 caves, 785 niches, more than 97,000 statues of the Buddha, Bodhisativas, and Arhats, and 3,680 inscribed stone tablets along the 1-km-long cliff of Mt. Longmen on the west and Mt. Xiangshan on the east of the Yihe River south of Luoyang. The Longmen Grottoes was listed as the world cultural heritage in 2000.