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Beishan Grottoes


Beishan Grottoes

A Brief Introduction to Beishan Grottoes

Beishan Grottoes are located on the Beishan Mountain on the altitude of 545.5 meters, 2 kilometers north of the Dazu County, centered by Dafowan, with a length of more than 500 meters and with a height of about 7 meters. It is like a crescent and the grottoes look like apiaries inside which there are more than 5,000 statues with delicate and exquisite skills. They display the belief in Buddhism and changes of the grotto artistic styles from the late 9th century to the middle 12th century. Apart from some tablets, towers and small shrines, the majority of the statues are kept in good condition.

History of Beishan Grottoes

Beishan Grottoes were carved from Jingfu the first year of Tang Dynasty (892) to Shaoxing years of South Song Dynasty (1162).

Statues in Tang Dynasty

In late 9th century, statues in Beishan Grottoes are themed in 12 types of Tang Dynasty, among which are mostly the Avalokitesvara, Ksitigarbhas, Amitabha Buddha and so on. All the statues are solemn and plump, reflecting the characteristics of people in Tang Dynasty.

Statues in Five Dynasties Period

Statues carved from the middle 10th century account for more than 30 per cent of all the statues in Beishan Grottoes. These statues were carved in the Five Dynasties period in 18 themes. These statues show the transitional characters from Tang Dynasty to the Song Dynasty. They not only exhibit the plump styles of statues in Tang Dynasty but also show the slender features of statues in Song Dynasty.

Statues in Song Dynasty

Statues from the late 10th century to the middle 12th century are themed widely-about 21 kinds, among which is the outstanding Avalokitesvara. Beishan Grottoes are praised as the "Exhibition Hall of Chinese Avalokitesvara Statues". Statues in the period are more close to our life, reflecting the aesthetics of Song Dynasty.

Stone Inscriptions of Beishan Grottoes

In Beishan Grottoes, there are altogether 7 stone tablets and steles remained. In them, one stone inscription engraved in 895 is quite valuable for studying the history of Tang Dynasty. Another stone inscription engraved from 1163 to 1189 was written by Cai Jing-one of the four calligraphers in Song Dynasty. It is a treasure of calligraphy art. In Beishan Grottoes, there is also a stone inscription themed on filial piety is regarded by the historiographers as the only stone inscription in the world. Besides, there are 17 poem-inscriptions and 77 records of statue-carvings in Beishan Grottoes which are with high value for the historical geography, religion beliefs as well as historical figures.