Buddist Sound From Western Heaven

Opening remarks

Beiping City, driving the horse into the clouds;

Yinshan often dark snow, barren pine no strike wind.

Looking for this poem when Emperor Xiaowen moved the capital, the historical memory is fixed in the distant Pingcheng era of the Northern Wei Dynasty. The Xianbei nationality, which originated in the depths of the Great Xing'an Mountains, went through nine difficulties and eight obstacles and migrated all the way south. They settled in Yinshan area of Inner Mongolia in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. During the Wei and Jin Dynasties, the Tuoba Xianbei tribe began to grow up, and took on the historical mission of cleaning up the remnants of the Central Plains while the Wuhu in northern China competed for hegemony. In 398 ad, Emperor Daowu established the Northern Wei Dynasty, and the capital of the state was set up in today's Datong.

At that time, Indian Buddhism prevailed in Central Asia and spread to China through the silk road. In 439, tuobatao, Emperor Taiwu of the Northern Wei Dynasty, pacified Beiliang, and then sent troops to the western regions, ushering in the second climax of cultural exchange between China and the West in Chinese history. Pingcheng soon became the center of Chinese Buddhism, and Yungang Grottoes came into being. The Western Sanskrit music is playing in China, which is an eternal movement left by the Pingcheng era.

Dance one: support tianwu

Yungang Grottoes have a variety of carving themes and rich content of statues. One cave, one wall or one niche all have "different faces and beautiful sculptures". Dressed in the style of Indian costumes, they wear the sacrificial sky, slant the robes and hold the Boshan stove. They really praise the Buddha's life and express their boundless piety to the Buddha.

Dance 2: Vajra

In the magnificent mid-term caves of Yungang, there are not only Buddha with solemn Dharma phase, devout and kind Bodhisattva, heaven and man, but also King Kong with dignified Kongwu. They wear double winged crowns and light military uniforms, vowing to defend the safety of the Buddha.

Dance 3: dobby dance

Ashura was originally a Hindu God, poor and vicious. Later, they converted to Buddhism and became one of the eight Dharma protectors. In Yungang Grottoes, they have three heads and four arms, or three heads and six arms, holding the sun and moon, bows and arrows, and their faces become gentle and kind.

Dance 4: Hu Xuan dance

Hu Xuan dance was originally an ancient dance of Kang state in the western regions, that is, today's Uzbekistan and other places. During the Northern Wei Dynasty, with the cultural exchanges between China and the west, this dance with the characteristics of rotation was introduced into the Central Plains along the Silk Road, and was called "Hu Xuan dance" by the Han scholars. At that time, there were many such performances in royal, aristocratic and bureaucratic banquets, and they were more popular in the Tang Dynasty.

Bai Juyi's poem says: "Hu Xuan girl, Hu Xuan dance, heart should string, hand should drum, string drum a double sleeve lift, back to the snow fluttering dance. I don't know if I'm tired of turning left and right, and I have no time for thousands of turns. " This is the most real and vivid description of Hu Xuan dance by the ancients.

In recent years, on the basis of full research, Yungang Grottoes Research Institute has preliminarily restored this kind of fast-paced, enthusiastic western region dance.

Dance 5: jiletian dance

Tuoba Xianbei from Mobei is a nomadic people who is good at singing and dancing. Especially after the conquest of the western regions, Pingcheng, as the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty, enjoyed unprecedented prosperity in music and dance.

Cave 12 in Yungang is also called music cave. In this cave, the heaven and men of Jiyue are arranged on the lintel of the door, above the window, and on the top of the cave. Its magnificent music carving constitutes the earliest Symphony Orchestra in the world. Those Buddhist musicians hold all kinds of musical instruments, and all kinds of acrobats compete in singing and dancing to perform the music of peace in the flourishing age of Buddhism. The so-called "images moving in the shadow, spirits flying in the air" poetry of the Tang Dynasty reflects the music of heaven in the music grottoes.


In 494 ad, Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty moved his capital to Luoyang. The prosperity of Pingcheng gradually became a thing of the past, but the glory of Yungang Grottoes is still eternal. The majestic Buddhist grottoes, with long curling songs and wonderful dancing, have entered the Tang Dynasty and become a world-renowned cultural masterpiece.

Chief Planner: Zhang Zhuo

Director: Feng Kui

Art Director: Ma Lixia

Yungang Grottoes Research Institute

Made on May 1, 2020