The hall cave was sponsored by the couple of Cao Yuanzhong, military governor of the Gui-yi-jun regime as their family temple in the tenth century, part of the murals were renovated in the Song dynasty. It is located at the lower level on the middle section of the Southern Area at Mogao and it is one of the largest caves at Mogao, consisting of a front chamber, a corridor and a main chamber. There is a two-stepped central altar in the center of the hall. It is called the hall of Manjusri in Dunhuang documents. The main chamber has a truncated pyramidal ceiling, and the ceiling center features a large parasol motif, in the center of the parasol are five lotuses, a entwining dragon and parrots. On the four slopes are preaching scenes surrounded by the thousand Buddha motifs. The four arch recesses in the four corners of the ceiling respectively depict the four great heavenly kings, namely, Dhrtarastra in the southeast recess, Virudhaka (mostly damaged) in southwest, Virupaksa in the northwest, and Vaisravana in the northeast recess. On the south, north, and east walls are eleven sutra illustration altogether and below these illustrations are Buddha\'s life stories and donor figures. The whole west wall is covered with a large-sized map of Mt Wutai (13 meters long and 3.6 meters high). On the upper part of each sidewall are five sutra illustrations, below them are thirty-three screen paintings illustrating Buddha\'s life stories. There are also tens of donor figures of the Cao family and inscriptions preserved on the east, north and south walls. The statues on the central altar are completely destroyed, only the traces of the paws of a lion can be seen on the back screen on which traces of some images are visible. On the upper part of the east wall is a Vimalakirti sutra illustration and below are donor figures. On the ceiling of the corridor is a six-fold medallion pattern with draperies on the two slopes. On the south and north walls of the corridor are images of Tejaprobaha Buddha and Eleven Star Gods, the zodiac, and alms-begging monks and nuns. There are inscriptions in both Tangut and Chinese. In the Yuan dynasty, the Huangqing Temple was built in front of the cave, which was renovated in 1351 by Suleiman Khan, King of Xining.
莫高窟 第0061窟 主室 北壁(中圖)/五代 Five Dynasties(A.D.907-960)
Mogao Grottoes Cave 061 Main Chamber North Wall
The south wall is divided into a upper section and a lower section. The upper section depict five sutra illustrations, namely the Ghanavyuha-sutra, sutra of Deva\'s questions, sutra of the Medicine Buddha, the Garland Sutra, and the Visesacintabrahma-pariprccha sutra illustrations from west to east, all followed the fixed pattern of previous sutra illustration in composition. There are three basic composition: enclosed frame, open frame and symmetrical structure. Among them, the garland sutra illustration is divided into a upper part and a lower part, respectively describing the scenes of nine assemblies in seven places and the Avatamsaka sea. Each scene has a cartouche in detail. Below them are sixteen female donors and nine screen paintings illustrating the nine events of Buddha\'s life: the Great Departure, the torsure, Channa going back to the city; being provided with milk; defeating Mara, the First Preaching, liberating human beings and celestial beings; Nirvana under the trees, worshipping the relics of the Buddha.