Carved into a sandstone cliff, the Yungang Caves are located about 16km (10 miles) west of Datong. Together with the Mogao, Bingling Si and Longmen Caves, the Yungang Caves are
well-preserved examples of Buddhist cave art and an important site in the history of the growth of Buddhism in China.
There are over 50 caves with approximately 51,000 Buddhist statues ranging from an imposing 17 meter (56ft) Buddha to finely carved 2cm (1 inch) sculptures. Caves and statues are spread along the hillside for about 15km (9 miles) and situated at points ranging in height by 1,000 meters (3,280ft).
The Yungang Caves were mainly constructed between 400-500AD when Datong was capital of the Northern Wei dynasty. The influence of Indian artists is more apparent here and some of the caves feature Hindu images. As well as carvings some caves are also decorated with frescoes and paintings depicting scenes from Buddha’s life.