In the morning we drove with our cars to the Yungang Caves, China’s most supreme examples of Buddhist cave art. Their visit was an absolute delight, they are the most magnificent caves we have seen.
There are 51’000 ancient statues and celestial beings, Buddhas and Bodhisatvas, which were created by Turkic-speaking Tuoba in the 5th Century. The designs are influenced by Indian, Persian and Greek art which travelled along the Silk Road. It took 60 years to be completed. Despite wet weather conditions, many statues and paintings still retain their gorgeous original pigment colours. The abundant frescoes show animals, birds, angels, 1000 Buddhas.
The caves are in a recently beautifully designed park which includes a museum, food stalls, a temple, a lake and creeks. After the visit we went back to the city and stopped at a car wash. We had to prepare the cars for the group that will drive back to Switzerland through Mongolia and Russia. It’s a small group and two cars will be shipped to Basel.
In the afternoon I was happy to take a rest and do a few sketches. In the evening, as we were walking to the restaurant through a poorly illuminated street that was on construction, Chantal fell over a piece of iron coming out of the ground. Unfortunately she hurt her arm and shoulder. Brecht, our expedition doctor, examined her and confirmed that nothing seemed broken. At the restaurant we had Chinese hot pot. It was delicious!