Grottoes & Rock Carvings
located in the southeast of Sichuan province, is 271
km away from Chengdu and 163 km away from Chongqing.
"Dazu" here means "harvest and abundance.
The work of Dazu Rock Carvings began in the first year
of Yonghui in the Tang Dynasty (650A.D.), and continued
until the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now, it enjoys equal
popularity with Yungang and Longmen Grottoes. The general
term of "Dazu Rock Carvings" refers to all
the cliff-side carvings in Dazu County, which includes
the carvings in all over the mountain ranges. The most
famous Baoding Grottoes, 15 km northeast of the county
proper, is the largest and the best - preserved cultural
relic site under state protection.
There are more
than 50,000 Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian rock carvings and
100,000 characters of inscriptions dotted around Dazu.
The carvings not only include the statues of Buddha and Bodhisattva
but also include that of monarchs, ministers, military officers,
high and low-ranking officials, jailers, executioners, monks,
rich and poor people, and folk art performers. The earliest
grotto was carved in the early Tang Dynasty and most of them
have a history over 1000 years. Many of the carvings in Baoding
Grotto reflect religious doctrines and another set of carvings
reflects Confucianism, specifically filial piety.
What the carvings
offer to visitors is not only the wonderful enjoyment of the
magnificent sculpture art but a Buddhist teaching like this:
One can be free himself from earthly worries by self-cultivation
and does not need to go beyond his own inner world to find
the truth of Buddhism. There are also many other carvings
at the site that tell Buddhist doctrines through the lives
of ordinary people. With rich images as well as inscriptions,
the Dazu Grottoes are regarded as an art treasure house that
fully reflected the society, philosophy, religion and folklore
of that time. In 1999, UNESCO listed Dazu Stone Carvings as
a world cultural heritage site. One point to be noted is that
the Dazu Grottoes are the only ones that were implemented
according to an overall design among over 100 grottoes in