Dazu stone carvings include all the cliffs in dazu county. The stone carvings collected have beishan, baoding mountain, nanshan mountain, shimen mountain, shizhong mountain, etc., the highest artistic attainments, the most exquisite skills.
Dazu county is located in the southeast of sichuan province. It is 168 miles from chengdu and 104 miles from chongqing. Covering 540 square miles (about 1,400 square kilometers), the county has a history of more than 1,200 years since it was founded in 758 during the tang dynasty (618-907).
Dazu stone carvings were first built in 650 during the tang dynasty and continued into the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and qing dynasty (1616-1911). It is as famous as the mogao grottoes in dunhuang, gansu province. The stone carvings in these places are famous at home and abroad. Among the stone carvings, there are more than 50,000 statues and over 100,000 inscriptions. In this group of stone carvings, buddhist statues dominate, and Taoist and Confucian stone statues can also be seen.
It is 1.2 miles (about 2 kilometers ) away from the northwest of Dazu County. Figures in this part are something like ‘an Assembly of Oriental Beauties’, since it enjoys good preservation and elaborate craftsmanship. Tourists can see the graceful statue of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, crowned as ‘the Oriental Venus’. Rock carvings in this part reveal the common Buddhist faith. Standing here for a while, one may feel that it is really a Buddhist palace.
Apart 12 miles (about 20 kilometers) from the eastern part of Dazu County, Shimenshan Rock Carving combines Buddhist and Taoist statues, but the later one predominates. In addition to these stone figures, there are also some inscriptions and remarks beside the figures. Representaion of some gods’ figures are lifelike and vivid. For example, outside the niche of the Great Jade Emperor stands the statuary of Shun Feng Er, a favorable god having clairaudience. It looks as if he is looking into the distance. Besides, there is a figure of Qian Li Yan, a god that can see things happening in a thousand miles’ distance. It looks as if he is listening attentively.
Many statues show the Buddhist and the Confucius doctrines, particularly the filial piety. In 1999, Dazu Rock Carvings were ranked as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Every year many thousands of tourists from home and abroad pay a visit to Dazu to appreciate the rock carvings.