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Dazu Grotto Art

Dazu Grottos, 160km northwest of Chongqing, include over 50,000 figures scattered in more than 40 places. The grottos were carved during the times of the late Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), Five Dynasties (907-960), and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD).They are primarily Buddhist cave sculptures noted for unusual domestic detail as well as purely religious themes. The grottoes on the Northern Hill and Baoding Hill are the largest in scale, the richest in concept, the best preserved, and most exquisitely carved.

The Northern Hill sculptures, 1km northwest of Dazu County town, began to sculpted in the late Tang Dynasty and lasted for more than 250 years and include over 10,000 figures of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in various poses, which famous for their elegance and exquisiteness. The statues are concentrated on precipices that form a gallery of 500 meters long and 4-7 meters high in the form of a half moon at Fowan. Right in the center of the cave is the statue of Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism, which is flanked by more than 20 statues including the Buddha of wisdom and universal benevolence. Each cave has a style of its own, and all the statues are beautifully shaped and exquisitely carved.

The Baoding Hill sculptures, 15km northeast of Dazu town, were carved during the Southern Song Dynasty. They are the only extant Buddhist Secret Sect Bodhimandala carved on stone in China. More than 10,000 figures are displayed along a 400 long U shape hill ridge. These sculptures are very impressive with the skillful combination of scientific principles and artistic models, and with rich social content and flavor of life.
They provide rich historic materials for they vividly reflected the life.

Dazu Grottoes are masterpieces of the later period of Chinese grotto art. In 1999, the grottoes entered the world cultural heritage list.

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