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World Heritage China, 03 Dazu Rock Carvings

The rock carvings at Dazu continue the tradition shown in the previous documentaries in this series on the World Heritage Sites made by CNTV: Mogao, Yungang and Longmen.

Whereas the others were built along the main silk roads, Dazu is way off the track, in Sichuan, and the building was begun here during troubled times in China.

The site actually consists of two main areas, on Mount Baoding and Mount Beishan. Carvings on the latter were begun in 650AD, during the early Tang Dynasty, and continued for 100s of years.

The carvings on Mount Baoding were not begun until the 12th century, during the Song Dynasty when the monk Zhao Zhifeng spent 70 years of his life on the project.

One of the most interesting features of the carvings is the harmony of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian ideals and representations that are present include one with the Buddha sitting above the Confucian Classic of Filial Piety.

Other highlights include the 1,000 hand Guan Yin statue, that really does have 1000 hands; a niche containing statues of Buddha, Lao Tzu and Confucius.

The Ox-herding pictures are also illustrated in life-size sculptures, and there are also reliefs showing scenes from hell, and many inscriptions at the sites.

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