China Stamps - 1987, T116 , Scott 2091-94 Dunhuang Murals (1st Set) - Full Sheet - MNH, VF : Dunhuang grottoes art is a solid art combining architecture, sculpture, and mural. Although Dunhuang murals only play a role of decoration, and a supplementary role to the sculptures in the Grottoes, but they feature the greatest number, the largest scale, the finest art skills and the richest content, providing very valuable information and material for research on ancient Chinese politics, economy, culture, military, geography, communication, social life, national relationship, religious history, art history, and exchanges with foreign countries and history of cultural exchanges. It is indeed a classic art heritage of great value.In the 577 grottoes with Mogao grottoes as the principal one, there are more than 45,000 square meters of colorful murals. It was called the biggest museum of fine arts in the world. According research findings, Dunhuang murals can be divided into the following classes:Buddha Figures: They refer to all kinds of gods and spirits, such as Buddha, Bodhisattva, and Buddha Guards, etc. worshiped by Buddhists. Most of them are painted in the pictures of Teaching Doctrine. In Mogao grottoes alone there are 12,208 figures of Buddha with different expressions and postures in 933 pictures of Teaching Doctrine.Jingbian Painting: They refer to an art form that employs paintings and literature to make abstract Buddha sutra easy to understand. A drawing that explains abstract sutra is called Bianxiang, and the method of explaining sutra with words and singing is called Bianwen.Legendary Mural: Its subject maters are traditional Chinese legends, which refer to the contents or subjects of Taoist thought appearing in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Occurrence of Taoist thoughts in Buddha grottoes reflects the combination of the Buddhist meditative absorption and Taoist Xujing (quiet and calm). It is also the influence of Buddhist thought and art on Chinese culture.