| Brief introduction of
Dazu Rock Carvings
The masterpiece of Chinese exquisite grotto art, Dazu Rock Carvings is a shining star in the speleological art treasure. It enjoys equal popularity with Dunhuang frescos and forms the trilogy with Yungang and Longmen Grottoes. Haring epitomized the art of grotto carvings in China, Dazu Rock Carvings has not only elevated grotto art of a certain time but also become an everlasting art monunment in the rock carving field of China. Dazu Rock Carvings are a great masterpiece of art, important contribution to the creation of new ides in the development of Chinese speleology, an example of lifelike creation of speleology, a new page in China's history of Tantric buddhism, and vivid reflection of major developments and changes in the religious beliefs among Chinese. As a result on December 1st 1999 Dazu Rock Carvings was inscribed on the World Heritage list by the UNESCO.
The general term of "Dazu Rock Carvings" refers to all the cliffside carvings in Dazu County, Chongqing municipality. Put under conservation and protection are 75 spots of cliffside carvings composed of more than 50000 statues and over 100000 Chinese characters of inscriptions and epigraphs.
Dazu County, located in the Southeast of the basin-like Sichuan province, 271 kilometers away from Chengdu to her west and 163 kilometers away from Chongqing to her east, has the population of over 900000 and the area of about 1400 square kilometers. Founded in the first year of Qianyuan in Tang dynasty (758 A.D). Dazu County whose name suggests that of " harvest and abundance (Dafeng, Dazu)" has thus far engoyed her history of more than 1240 years.
The work of Dazu Rock Carvings began in the first year of Yonghui in Tang dynasty (A.D.650), and had continued until Ming and Qing dynasties. Through the Five Dynasties the work entered its prime time and distinguished itself during Northern and Southern Song dynasties. Of these (In Dazu Rock Carvings), key site protected at the national level for its cultural and historic value, have five places including Beishan (including Beita), Baodingshan, Nanshan, Shizhuanshan and Shimeushan Rock Carvings--in which most figures are concentrated, and which contain statues and figures of the highest artistic value and most exquisite technique(The part of World Heritage Place). Site protected by Chongqing municipality for its cultural and historic value, has four places Jianshanzi, Shuchenyan , Miaogaoshan and Qianfoyan Rock Carvings. Site protected by Dazu County for its cultural and historic value have 67 places.
Chiefly statues of the "Buddhist World",Dazu Rock Carvings is unique in that Taoist and confucianist statuary figures are also included.
During the long history of its development, Chinese speleology has acquired unique models and connotations during different periods of time. The speleology of the early period (during the 4th and 5th century or Wei and Jin dynasties in Chinese history),as represented by Yungang Grottoes, has been distinctly influenced by the Gandhara and other ancient art of India, with most of the statues wearing exotic looks. The speleology of the middle period (during the 6th and 9th century or the Sui and Tang dynasties in Chinese history),as represented by Longmen Grottoes, tells of the characteristics of the integration of Indian and Chinese cultures. As the representative works of the Chinese speleology of the late period (form the late 9th century to the middle 13th century or from the late Tang Dynasty to the Southern Song Dynasty in Chinese history), Dazu Rock Carvings have made many breakthroughs from their predecessors in terms of choice of subject matters, artistic form, modelling technique, and aesthetic taste after taking in and absorbing the best of their predecessors with their vivid display of nationality and life, these carvings have become a typical example of spelaology with Chinese style to form ,together with Yungang, Longmen and other grottoes a complete history of Chinese speleology.
"Go up to mount Omei, and go down to baodingshan". The spots of rock carvings at Baodingshan, Beishan, Nanshan, Shizhuanshan and Shimenshan have been tourist resorts since ancient times. Beishan and Baodingshan, In particular, have grown to be centers for Chinese and foreign tourists to appreciate tae beauty of nature, for Buddhist believers and devotes to worship, and for monks to expound dharma and give lectures on sutras. Baodingshan. Which has come to be known as the "Mountain of Efficacy under Heaven", world receive tens of thousands of visitors and tourists on the 19th of the second month of each Chinese lunar year, the date said to be the birthday of Thousand -Armed Awalokitesvara. Since its opening to the public in 1980,the number of tourists has kept increasing with each passing day to reach 350000) a year a on the average, with the biggest number hitting 600000 in a year and over 10000 in a day.