county of Chongqing city, reputed as Land of Stone Sculptures,
there are more than 50,000 stone sculptures scattered in 40 places.
The collection of statures located at the foot of Baoding Hill
and North Hill is the largest in scale and highest in artistic
value. The statues sculptured in the Song Dynasty are the best
preserved and most well-known for their characteristics, tastes
and interesting plots. Started in 1179 AD, the carving of statues
lasted over 70 years till 1249 AD.
In 1999, the Dazu Stone Sculptures
was declared the World Cultural And Natural Heritage by the UNESCO
Baoding Hill: Stone statues were scattered
over an area of 2.5 square kilometers, particularly in Dafowan
where most valuable sculptures were concentrated. Dafowan is a
huge gorge in U shape with a length of 500 meters. Stone sculptures
were hewn out along the cliffs. The most outstanding of them are
the "Thousand-Arm Goddess of Mercy" and the Sleeping
Buddha. The former holds in her 1007 hands various objects such
as Buddhist magic formulas, weapons of ancient times, musical
instruments, jade ornaments, silk fabrics, production tools, and
articles for daily use. Her arms and hands look exquisite and
graceful in their myriad postures: raised or down, extended or
withdrawn, relaxed or clenched etc. This fully shows the extraordinary
talent and skill of ancient artists. The Sleeping Buddha is grand
and imposing. Other attractions include Xiaofowan, Daota, Wansuilou,
Shengshousi etc. Shengshousi (Temple of Sacred Longevity) constructed
at the foot of the Hill, is made up of lofty halls and pavilions
with double eaves and exquisite carvings.
Weimo Hall stands at the top and houses a sleeping
statue of Weimo, a lay Buddhist, and 77 round shrines with small
Buddhist statues above a stone platform. The Temple is surrounded
by luxuriant cypresses.
North Hill: The cliffs at Fowan covered with
stone carvings along its 250 meter length are honey-combed with