Built continuously from the first year of the reign of Emperor Yonghui of the Tang Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, Dazu Stone Carvings’Grottoes represent a beautiful gem in the treasure trove of grotto arts in China. In 1961, they appeared on the list of the first group of important cultural relics under state protection as announced by the State Council and in 1999 they were inscribed on the World Cultural Heritage List by the UNESCO.
Located in Dazu County, 81 km by express way, west of the city proper of Chongqing, a starting city for Yangtze River tour, the stone carvings of Dazu, chiefly consisting of Buddhists images, are the art of religious nature. More than fifty thousand figure statues are scattered over 75 places. Those carved out of the rocks at North Mountain, Baoding Mountain, South Mountain, Shizuan Mountain and Shimen Mountain are the most concentrated in number, the largest in scale, the finest in craftsmanship and the richest in content.
All the cliffside carvings, ingeniously conceived with a great originality, are well-known for their variety in subject matter, richness in content, and their co-existence of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. You can consider to include it in your affordable China travel packages.
Nevertheless, the stone carvings of Dazu Grottoes differ somewhat from the stone sculpture produced in the previous period. Emphasizing on both the law of aesthetic standards and the law of art form, the outstanding practice in Dazu was regarded as a good example to promote the advance of the grotto art from chiseling to cliffside carving. Apart from being an important component of China's grotto art, it is a glorious chapter in the history of worldwide grotto art during the years from the 9th to 13th centuries.
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