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Southeastern Shanxi Grotto Research

Research Tutor:

Congrong He



Wenxuan He

Yuanfang Liu

Ran Duan

Shuya Zhao

Yiqing Gong

Zhangyu Wang

Wen Wang


Journal of Chinese Architecture History,Volume 19



Architectural history research, Zen grotto, architectural features, the propagation of grotto culture,  grotto preservation


This is a research design project considering the preservation of grottoes in Southeastern Shanxi. Various materials are carefully studied and analysed, resulting a comprehensive  research paper which is selected for publication.


Among all the ancient grottoes in Shanxi province, large-scale grottoes located in the central or northern Shanxi such as Yungang Grottoes, Tianlongshan Grottoes and Longshan Grottoes have been well-studied, whereas smaller ones in Southeastern area have not received much attention. In fact, the Northern Dynasties is a significant time frame for grotto culture in Southeastern Shanxi as it is both its budding and prosperous period, leaving us a considerable amount of grotto remains. In this paper, the physical and documentational information of Northern Dynasties grottoes in Southeastern Shanxi is collated and analysed, while their characteristics in terms of site selection, scale, architectural form etc. are carefully studied, leading to the exploration of the explanation behind the formation and proliferation of these grottoes in relation to temporal and spatial distribution.


A unique individual is part of a unique group which which forms a unique culture within a unique species.


How do I relate myself to a city's identity?

How does an architecture (culture) embrace aging?

The grottoes are categorised according to the condition, historical and cultural significance, architectural characteristic, accessibility, location etc. Each category has different preservation strategies and guidelines.

In a larger scale, these grottoes are considered as parts of different grotto culture phases, linking to some famous grotto clusters, forming an extensive grotto network in Shanxi.


What traces should we preserve?

What are the traces we leave?



The Idea of Type - Anthony Vidler

Spatial Form and Symbolic Meaning - Fa Zhang

Buddhist Philosophy

The ecology of ancient architecture

The existential crisis of architecture

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