Karavit, C. (2022). A Formal analysis of Buddhist painting compositions from the Northern Wei period in cave temples on the Silk Road. BRIQ Belt & Road Initiative Quarterly, 3(4), 28-49.


The Toba Turks, who founded the Northern Wei state between 4th and 6th centuries AD, were a nomadic tribe living in northern China, affiliated to the Xianbei confederation, consisting of Turkic and Mongol communities. After the Toba conquered northern China, they accepted and supported Buddhism. During the Northern Wei dynasty, the great support of the Toba rulers for Buddhist structures, art, and translation of sacred texts was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism and Buddhist art in China in later periods. Buddhism reached to China in 2nd and 3rd centuries AD through the west of China. Many artists specializing in Buddhist images flocked here, as did Buddhist monks during the Northern Wei period when the Toba ruled. The translation of Buddhist inscriptions into Chinese and the construction of temples began to be carried out in this region. As a result of these developments, with the support of the Toba rulers, the composition organizations of the works of Buddhist painting art increased and varied.