The Dazu Rock Carvings, located in the southeast portion of the Sichuan Basin in China, is a stunning example of grotto art dating back to the 7th century. Containing more than 50,000 statues and over 100,000 other figures, it is one of the most fabulous examples of archaeological treasure listed as a World Heritage Site, and beautifully illustrate the daily life of 9th to 13th century China.
The UNESCO World Heritage Center describe these carvings as being "remarkable for the aesthetic quality, their rich diversity of subject matter, both secular and religious, and light that they shed on everyday life in China during that period. They provide outstanding evidence of the harmonious synthesis of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism."
The most famous sculpture, which became the symbolic icon of Dazu, is a giant reclining Buddha that is one hundred and two feet long.
The Wheel of Life represents the various human, animal and divine forms of reincarnation that, according to Buddhist beliefs, are the destiny of departed souls. How a person is reincarnated depends, of course, upon the merits achieved during his or her lifetime.
accompanied by his disciples.
The Eighteen Hells show what awaits those who commit sin during their lives on Earth. One carving even shows someone being punished by being struck on the knee.
Some of the carvings were intended to teach moral lessons and provide guidance to the souls of the area in a way they could understand since nearly everyone was unable to read or write.
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