The Buddhist Grottoes of Dunhuang at Mogao are a great treasure house of Buddhist art. Here, the art forms of architecture, sculpture and painting are combined organically into great expressions of Buddha worship that began during the Han Dynasty and continued through the Tang, for more than 1,000 years.
After the discovery of approximately 50,000 Buddhist writings and holy scriptures at Dunhuang around 1900, Dunhuang gained great fame for its Buddhist art relics.
It was only natural that the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization would list Dunhuang's Mogao Grottoes on its list of the world's cultural legacies worthy of special protection in December of 1987.
The mural paintings of Dunhuang are especially famous and focus on presenting images of the Buddha and Buddhist legend, but also include examples of landscape paintings, historic architecture, portraits of the noble patrons, various auspicious animals, plants and other decorations.
One of the other main themes of the frescoes are the feitian, heavenly maidens painted into the frescoes to act as frames on the murals or to otherwise decorate the paintings.