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Guide of Dazu Attractions

Brief Introduction of Dazu Grottoes

Dazu Grottoes, located in Dazu County, is 163 kilometers from Chongqing. It represents a beautiful gem in the grotto arts of China during Tang and Song dynasties.

There are over 60,000 figure statues and 100, 000 Chinese characters of inscriptions and epigraphs scattered over 76 cliff carvings which are under national relics protection. The most famous ones are Baoding mountain and Beishan mountain. The sculptures and carvings are mainly about Buddhism, but Confucian and Taoist carvings are also included. Dazu Grottoes is equally famous with the Yungang Grotto, the Longmen Grotto and the Duhuang Grotto for their variety in subject matter, richness in content, and their co-existence of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Dazu Grottoes started from Tang Dynasty to Ming and Qing Dynasty. There are 5 National Relics Protection units, Beishan Mountain (Including North Tower), Baoding Mountain, South Mountain, Shimen Mountain, Shizhuan Mountain. There are other carvings, Jianzi Mountain, Shucheng Rock, Miaogaoshan Carving, Qianfoyan Carving, West Mountain, Shengshui (Holy Water) Temple, Sanjiao Temple, Qingshan Temple, Laojun Temple, Banbian Temple, Qigong Bridge, Puhe Temple and Chenjiayan Carving.

Baoding Mountain Grotto

Three Sages of Huayan

Baoding Mountain is located at the Baoding Township and 15 kilometers from Dazu County. Baoding Mountain Grottoes includes Dafowan and Xiaofo Wan. It started in 1179 in the Song Dynasty on the initiative of Zhao Zhifeng, a noted monk, and the work lasted more than 70 years, completed in 1249. They were carvings depicting complete performances of Buddhist rites of Mi Sect. Meanwhile, the carvings are the essence of Dazu Grottoes and lead the grotto art of China to the top.

It was built against the mountain with grand and magnificent view. It used to be destroyed by war during Yuan Dynasty and rebuilt during Ming and Qing Dynasty. There are main gate, Tianwang Hall (Hall of the Celestial Kings), Dishi Hall, Daxiong Hall (Grand Hall), Sanshi Hall, Randeng Hall and Weimo Hall remained, covering an area of 1631.68 square meters.

Beishan Mountain Grottoes

Shrine No.136

Beishan Mountain Grottoes started in the year of 895 in the Tang Dynasty on the initiative of Wei Junjing, an official of Changzhou (the present day Dazu County), in praise of Buddhism, and the project completed 250 years later in the Northern Song Dynasty. More than 4,600 figures in 264 shrines have been carved on the face of cliffs that is 300 meters long and 7 meters high. Most of the carvings are images of the Guanyin goddess, together with some tablets and inscriptions of records of some events. The Guanyin goddess, according to Buddhist scripts, can appear in 32 different images, and therefore, the images of the goddess on Beishan Mountain are indeed varied and colorful. In Shrine No.9, beside the Thousand-hand Guanyin goddess stood a very thin and weak person, showing that the goddess is always ready to help the poor; the Water and Moon Guanyin goddess in Shrine No.113, carved in the Song Dynasty, has a slim figure, which is different from the Tang style in which plump females were regarded as more beautiful; the Bead-Counting Guanyin goddess in Shrine No.125, lips slightly closed, with very graceful bearing, was praised by some modern artists to be "the Charming Guanyin Goddess". The best carvings are found in Shrine No.136, which were carved between 1142 and 1145 in the Song Dynasty. The eight stone figures in the shrine are attractive, but in her hands, and is known as the Sun and Moon Guanyin; Samantabhadra, the Buddhist Goddess of Kindness and Happiness, is the images of a beautiful girl of the East, and is known as "Venus of East"; there are 460 figures in Shrine No.245, and every one of these images is well-carved and true to life. Generally speaking, carvings in Beishan Mountain are done in a more careful way than those in Baoding Mountain, and many carvings in Beishan Mountain are rare artistic treasures.

Shimen Mountain Stone Carving

Shimen Mountain Stone Carving

It is located at the Xinsheng Village of Dazu County. The carving started from 1094 in Song Dynasty. The face the cliff is 71.8 meters long and 3.4-5 meters high. There are 12 shrines and 20 sculptures and 8 tablets.

Shimen Mountain Stone Carving combines Buddhism and Taoism together. The most characteristic one is Taoist sculptures, such as Clairvoyance and Clairaudience carved outside the Shrine No.2.

The Shrine No.10 is Sanhuang Cave and there are 35 figures which are graceful and realistic. The figure looks more "human" than "god".

South Mountain Stone Carving

South Mountain

South Mountain, used to be called Guanghua Mountain, is located at the Longgang Township of Dazu County. The face of the cliff is 86 meters long and 3.5-10.2 meters high. There are 5 shrines, Sanqing Ancient Cave, Houtu Shengmu Shrine, Dragon Cave, Emperor Zhenwu Shrine and so on. Among Dazu Grottoes, the Taoist stone carvings are the biggest and most complete one in Taoist history of China.



Shizhuan Mountain Stone Carving

Shizhuan Mountain Stone Carving

It is located at the Fohui Village and 25 Kilometers far from Dazu County. The carving started from the year of 1082. The face of the cliff is about 130 meters long and 3-8 meters high.

Shizhuan Mountain Stone Carving is a typical grotto which combines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The Shrine No.6 is Confucius Shrine. The figure of Confucius who is the greatest scholar and the founder of Confucianism is carved in Shrine No.6. And 10 apprentices of Confucius are also carved in the shrine. It is seldom seen in grottoes of China.


Miaogao Mountain Stone Carving

Miaogao Mountain Stone Carving

Miaogao Mountain Stone Carving is located at Jijia Township of Dazu County. It started from the year of 1144. It is a Relic Protection Unit of Chongqing. There are 1,005 sculptures in total which reflects the perfect integration of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.




Jianzi Mountain Stone Carving

It is located at the Jianjiao Village and 24 kilometers from Dazu County. It started from the year of 650 in Tang Dynasty. It is the oldest stone carving of Dazu. The face of the cliff is 12 meters wide and 8 meter high. There are 158 figures, such as Sakyamuni Preaching Shrine and Gunayin Goddess Shrine.

Shucheng Rock Stone Carving

Shucheng Rock, used to be called Yuncong Rock, is located at the Zhong'ao Township of Dazu County. It was built between 1143 and 1153 in Southern Song Dynasty. It is a Taoist stone carving and there are 426 figures in total.

Qianfo Rock Stone Carving

The name Qianfo means thousand buddhas. It is because that there are one thousand buddhas carved here. The stone carving is only 0.75 kilometers far from Shizhuan Mountain Stone Carving. There are Golden Buddha Shrine, Figures of Three Sages of the West and Eight Buddha Shrine.