A Buddhist sculpture dating back some 1,500 years was accidentally discovered in the Yungang Grottoes in North China's Shanxi Province on Saturday.
The sculpture was found in a secluded section of the grottoes, a series of caves containing dozens of religious murals and statues. The statue has apparently been overlooked over the years as no mention of it exists in the records kept by the previous or current management of the grottoes.
The statue's location at the bottom of a hole may have contributed to it being overlooked over the years.
Extremely weathers, the sculpture is of a deity with a protruding bun on top of its head, a pair of large ears and a tiny mouth.
The lower part of the figure's body disappears into the wall, which according to experts is similar to sculptures carved into the east and west walls of the Yungang Grottoes' No.18 cave.
Based on the style of the sculpture, experts believe it was created during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534).
The Yungang Grottoes, formerly the Wuzhoushan Grottoes, are an ancient series of caves that served as a Chinese Buddhist temple in ancient times.
Located near the city of Datong in Shanxi Province, the grottoes are considered one of the three most important ancient Buddhist sculpture sites in China alongside the Longmen Grottoes located in Henan Province and the Mogao Grottoes in Gansu Province.