National Geographic : 1938 Mar
Photograph by Gilbert Grosvenor THE CLIFF FACE, AS WELL AS THE LABYRINTH OF CAVES, IS MAN-CARVED The natural slope of Wu Chou Shan was hewn back to present a vertical surface into which the grottoes were chiseled. Most ofthe outer decorations, and some times the walls themselves, have weathered away. Villagers of Yun Kang living in mud huts at the base of the cliff often store farm implements, hay, and coffins inthe elaborately wrought caverns (page 320). The sealed coffins await a propitious day, to be selected by geomancers, for burial. Many children present their father acoffin, as a mark of respect, on his sixtieth birthday. The only tablet found at Wu Chou Shan was high up on the wall of thelast cave on the right. Dr. Gordon King states that "the tablet is dated 483 A.D . and records the decision of 54 disciples of Buddha, men and women, to erect a stone figure toBuddha. Italso expresses the hope that the project will bring blessing and protection to the Emperor and his family and to the promoters and their relatives."