Cave 8

Cave 8 is the largest of the caves at Tianlongshan with the exception of Cave 9, the colossal Buddha cave. It is the only central pillar cave at the site and the only cave known to be of the Sui dynasty (581-618). It has a porch three bays wide that is largely preserved. The traces of two guardian figures standing at the sides of the entrance can still be seen. At the right side of the porch there is a stele with a long inscription dated to the fourth year of the kaihuang reign period, or 584. It records the persecution of Buddhism in the preceding Northern Zhou period after the conquest of Northern Qi, and its restoration with the rise of the Sui dynasty. The cave is dedicated by a Sui official to the well-being of the Sui emperor Wen (r. 581-604) and his son Yang Guang, the prince of Jin.
The main chamber of Cave 8 is square in plan with a large square central pillar. It has three niches around the back and side walls and four niches on the central pillar, each with a central seated Buddha and standing attendants.

Cave 8 porch with architectural elements carved in stone

Tianlongshan Cave 8 exterior 2

Cave 8 exterior with a view of the Buddha niche on the front side of the central pillar

Tianlongshan Cave 8 exterior 1

Cave 8 exterior looking westward at the porch. One of the large columns supporting the eave still remains.

Tianlongshan Cave 8 exterior 3

Cave 8 porch, west side of entrance

Tianlongshan Cave 8 exterior 7

Cave 8 exterior revealing the pointed arch-shaped lintel above the entrance and a phoenix standing on top of the column at the side of the doorway

Cave 8 exterior. Traces of the guardian figure at the east side of the entrance remain as well as part of the stele at the far right side of the porch.

Tianlongshan Cave 8 exterior 9

The niche in the front side of the central pillar has a Buddha seated on a lotus throne and two standing disciples.

Cave 8 west wall niche with Buddha seated on a rectangular Sumeru throne

Cave 8, view of standing attendant disciple and bodhisattva on the north (back) wall, west side. Part of the central pillar appears on the right and the west wall on the left.

Cave 8 east wall

Historical photo, Cave 8 central pillar west side

Historical photo, Cave 8 north wall, west side

Historical photo, Cave 8 east wall, south side