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Dazu Stone Carvings in Chongqing 重庆大足石刻

Profile:Dazu Stone Carvings in Chongqing 重庆大足石刻
The site of Dazu Stone Carvings is right located within the boundary of counties such as Dazu in Chongqing Municipality in the southwest of China. This is an area widely known as The Home of Stone Carvings. First launched during the reign of Emperor Yonghui in early Tang Dynasty (649 AD), Dazu Stone Carvings passed through late Tang Dynasty and Five Ages (907-959 AD), flourished during the two Song Dynasties (960-1278) and had more carvings added to it in Ming and Qing dynasties (14th Century to 19th Century AD). Subsequently, an immensely large cluster of stone carvings came into existence fully revealing the highest level of attainment of the fine stone carvings in China. It can be termed as the symbol of grotto art in late times in China, looming as a match of Yugang Grotto, Longmen Grotto and Dunhuang Grotto.
The Dazu Stone Carvings Cluster is predominantly composed of over 100,000 images standing in 70 places. Most notably, they come in large numbers in North Mountain, Baoding Mountain, Shizhuan Mountain and Shimen Mountain.
The Stone Carvings of North Mountain is about 2km away in the northwest of Dazu County. It was first carved in the first year during the reign of Emperor Jingfu in the Tang Dynasty (892 AD) and finished during the reign of Emperor Shaoxing in the South Song Dynasty (1162). There are approximately ten thousand images on facets of the cliff that have been accomplished through donations of common worshippers. The themes of images are 51 in total, mainly focused on the popular Buddhist people and plots. It is a worldly variation of Buddhism that is different from China grottoes in earlier times. The Stone Carvings of North Mountain is noted worldwide for its fine carving, exquisite workmanship, and graceful taste, revealing the development and change of folk Buddhist beliefs and artistic styles of stone carvings in China from the Eighth Century to the 14th Century AD.
The Stone Carvings of Baoding Mountain is about 15km away in the northeast of Dazu County. It was first carved in the sixth year during the reign of Emperor Chunxi in the South Song Dynasty (1179 AD) and completed in the ninth year during the reign of Emperor Chunyou in the South Song Dynasty (1249 AD). With Shengshou Temple as the center, it comprises 13 clusters of images including Giant Buddha Bay and Little Buddha Bay, with about ten thousand images on facets of the cliff. These images are mainly about people and stories of concealed Buddhist schools and the whole cluster looks as if it were a large sacred land of Buddhist religion, embodying the cream of stone carving works of the Song Dynasty (960-1278 AD).
The Stone Carvings of South Mountain lies in the southeast of Dazu County. It was first carved in South Song Dynasty (1127-1278 AD), with slight additions in Ming and Qing dynasties. There are totally 15 grottoes with themes basically focused on Taoist styles. All the pieces are of exquisite workmanship and appear to be massive and sturdy with paintings on the surface. Today, The Stone Carvings of South Mountain is the largest and most densely-populated cluster of China Taoist stone carvings that can reflect the complete system of gods.
The Stone Carvings of Shizhuan Mountain lies at about 25km in the southwest of Dazu County. It was first built carved in the fifth year during the reign of Emperor Yuanfeng in the North Song Dynasty (1082 AD) and accomplished in the third year during the reign of Emperor Shaosheng (1096 AD). The facet of the image is about 130m long and about 3-8m high, with 10 grottoes altogether. It is an image cluster of three-religion combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism typical of China grottoes.
Located about 20km away in the east of Dazu County, Shimen Mountain Stone Carvings was first carved in the first year during the reign of Emperor Shaoheng in the North Song Dynasty (1094 AD) and accomplished in the 21st year during the reign of Emperor Shaoxing in the South Song Dynasty (1151 AD). The facet of cliff with image carvings is about 72m long in total and 3-5m high, with altogether 16 grottoes. The themes are mainly people and episodes pertaining to Buddhism and Taoism. Besides, there are records of image carving, epitaphs and inscriptions. Looming as the largest stone carvings cluster of Buddhism and Taoism combination among the Dazu Stone Carvings, Shimen Mountain Stone Carvings is best known for the images of Taoist style grottoes. Massive, sturdy and true to life, the stone carvings has proven a perfect combination of stateliness of god and vivid facial expressions of the mortal beings, ranking exclusively in the works of China stone carvings art.
Dazu Stone Carvings is renowned far and wide for its large scale, fine workmanship, varied themes, remarkable abundance, and perfect preservation. It combines the quintessence of image carvings of the three religions of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism and ranks as a glowing pearl of China grotto art with distinct features of ethnic cultures and lifestyles. With a stock of real relics and historical records, it has substantially displayed the development and changes of the style of China stone carvings art and folk religious beliefs from the Ninth Century to Mid-thirteenth Century AD. It has made great contribution to the innovation and development of China stone carvings art and is of irreplaceable value concerning history, art and science.

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