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Chongqing - Dazu Stone Sculpturese

    In Dazu 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 Heritage Committee.
    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 Her arms and hands look exquisite and graceful in their myriad postures: raised or down, extended or withdrawn, relaxed or clenched etc.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 niches.

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