The Longmen Grottoes are one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of present day Luyng in Hnn province, Peoples Republic of China. The images, many once painted, were carved into caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan and Longmenshan mountains, running east and west. The Yi River flows northward between them and the area used to be called Yique ("The Gate of the Yi River"). The alternative name of "Dragon's Gate Grottoes" derives from the resemblance of the two hills that check the flow of the Yi River to the typical "Chinese gate towers" that once marked the entrance to Luoyang from the south