The Kumtura Thousand Buddha Caves (simplified Chinese: 库木吐喇千佛洞; traditional Chinese: 庫木吐喇千佛洞; pinyin: Kùmùtǔlǎ Qiānfódòng) (also Qumtura) is a Buddhist cave temple site in the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China. The site is located some 25 km west of Kucha, Kuqa County, on the ancient Silk Road. Other famous sites nearby are the Kizilgaha caves, the Kizil Caves, Subashi Temple and the Simsim caves.
112 cave temples survive, dating from the fifth to the eleventh centuries. Damage by occasional habitation after abandonment of the site, Kumtura was visited by a number of the early foreign expeditions to Chinese Central Asia, including the 1902 Ōtani expedition, Oldenburg, and Le Coq. The last detached several wall paintings and took them back to Berlin (now at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst).
Construction of the Dongfang Hong Hydroelectric Plant in the 1970s caused the water level of the Muzat River to rise and has increased the rate of decay of the wall paintings. Long-term preservation measures under the auspices of UNESCO began in 1999 with extensive documentation and survey work and consolidation of the conglomerate rock from which the caves are excavated. The site was among the first to be designated for protection in 1961 as a Major National Historical and Cultural Site. In 2008 Kumtula Grottoes was submitted for future inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Chinese Section of the Silk Road.
- Agnew, Neville, ed. (2010). Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road: Proceedings of the Second International Conference (PDF). Getty Conservation Institute. pp. 37–9. ISBN 9781606060131.
- Wang Weidong, ed. (2008). 库木吐喇石窟内容总录 [A general record of the Kumtura caves] (in Chinese). 文物出版社. ISBN 9787501023844.
- (Other than Kizil)... "The nearby site of Kumtura contains over a hundred caves, forty of which contain painted murals or inscriptions. Other cave sites near Kucha include Subashi, Kizilgaha, and Simsim." in Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 438. ISBN 978-1-4008-4805-8.
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- "国务院关于公布第一批全国重点文物保护单位名单的通知 (1st Designations)" (in Chinese). State Administration of Cultural Heritage. 3 April 1961. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
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- MUZIO, CIRO LO (2008). "Remarks on the Paintings from the Buddhist Monastery of Fayaz Tepe (Southern Uzbekistan)". Bulletin of the Asia Institute. 22: 202, note 45. ISSN 0890-4464. JSTOR 24049243.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kumtura Caves.|
- Kumtura Thousand Buddha Caves Conservation Project (UNESCO)
- Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road (1st Conference) (GCI)
- Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road (2nd Conference) (GCI)
- Xinjiang Cultural Relics Bureau (search term: 库木吐喇千佛洞) (in Chinese)
- Xinjiang Travel: Reliable & Authentic Guide from Local Travel Experts