Dazu Rock Carvings: 1350-Year-Old World Heritage Site

Located in the city of Chongqing, the Dazu Rock Carvings are some of the most impressive hand-made structures in China. Spread over 5 different locations in the Dazu District, the carvings tell stories about the various eras of the country. Moreover, the Dazu Rock Carvings represent the stories and figures from major beliefs in China such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Due to their importance for China as they serve as collective memory and the finesse of the handcraft, UNESCO put the carvings on their heritage list in 1999.

dazu rock carvings

The Dazu Rock Carvings cover quite a large area and its massive size is one of the most interesting things about it. The carvings consist of 5 different locations, 75 sites, 50,000 statues, and 100,000 Chinese inscriptions and epigraphs. They are the result of nearly 600 years of delicate work spread over various eras of different Chinese dynasties. Historians state that the first carvings started in the 650s under Tang Dynasty. The following dynasties followed the lead and added more carvings to various sites. Usually, a high-ranking monk oversaw the carving process and led the carvers.

dazu rock taoist carvings

The 5 locations of the Dazu Rock Carvings are the Beishan, Baodingshan, Nanshan, Shizhuanshan, and Shimenshan mountains. Arguably, the most important carving site is the Baodingshan. The site has some of the most detailed motifs and statues.

dazu rock buddhist carvings

Especially, the statue of the 1000-armed Kwan-yin is the main attraction of the site. The Chinese call this statue “the national treasure of national treasures.” Although the statue has exactly 830 hands, it is still a marvelous piece of Chinese art, which many believe is one of the highest forms of it. Aside from this statue, there are nearly 10,000 thousand Buddha statues on the site as well. The statues, as well as the carvings, represent all the stories in the Buddhist scriptures. Today, it is one of the popular tourist sites in China but for many years, the Chinese did not let anyone near the carvings. Fearing that visitors may damage them, the officials first opened the carvings for visiting in 1960 and only for the locals and 20 years later for tourists.

dazu rock gold sculpture
dazu rock statues
dazu rock animak carvings
dazu rock colored sculptures
the carvings
the detailed carvings
carvings telling stories
sculptures depicting various scenes
colored sculptures in the stone