Da Zu Rock Carvings

Dà Zú Shí Kèexternal image 2398506360_1af89b6972_o.jpg

Da Zu is located just west of Chongqing, China. Da Zu is famous for its many carvings of statues. There are over 100,000 statues scattered in 70 places throughout Da Zu. However, the greatest collection of statues lie within the embraces of the Baoding Hill and the North Hill. What is truly surprising is that many of the statues have still retained their color though they were painted nearly 1,300 years ago.

The earliest carvings date back to 650 AD in the early Táng Dài or Tang Dynasty, they were finished in the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD). These marvelous statues were built spanning a time of around 629 years. Imagine the dedication that it would have taken to complete a project over 600 years in the making.

What the Carvings shows:
The carvings at Da Zu depict everyday life at the time the carvings were created. Even though there are many lessons about ancient life that can be learned from even the simplest of statues from that time period, the statues at Da Zu are perhaps a greater source of knowledge because of the fact that they depicted everyday life.

This is the 20 meter-long reclining Buddha.
This is the 20 meter-long reclining Buddha.
Styles: The statues found in Da Zu are heavily influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Each of these religions was around many years before these statues were carved. Each religion playes an important part in Chinese history, so it is not hard to see how each of these could have contributed to the statues in Da Zu. ----

Taoism means "path" or "way" often refered to as the way to live your life. Some of the basic aspects of taoism are religion and philosophy. Mixing throughout history to involve many signature Chinese cultural aspects. Focusing a lot on nature and the Three Jewels of the Tao which are, compassion, humility, and moderation, many people form their lifestyles around this belief.

Buddhism, with it's deep foundational roots in the heart of India, teaches it's followers about liberation through "the true nature of reality". The religion also has what are called Three Jewels, much life Taoism. They are: the Buddha, the teachings of their religion, refered to as the Dharma, and their community, or Shangha.

Confucianism relies heavily on moral education. It is believed that a person can overcome the need for governmental laws through their own personal moral education. Confucious, 551-478 BCE, a Chinese philosopher, created these teachings and greatly influenced Eastern Asia. His teachings are also considered a "state religion" in some areas of the continent.

North Hill:
The statues that are found at North Hill are among the oldest in Da Zu. They were begun by a military governor named Wei Junjing. The carving at North Hill are separated into two groups. The first group is the oldest. It includes many military carvings, including a life-sized, armor-clad Wei Junjing.
The second group has mostly statues of Kwanyin, the Goddess of Mercy in many various attitudes.

Baoding Hill:
The statues in Baoding were designed by a monk named Zhao Zheifeng. It is in Baoding the the 20 meter-long reclining Buddha is found. (Pictured to the right).

=====The statues found in Baoding Hill were primarily carved during the Song Dynasty. ----
Dà Zú shí kè shì yī gè hěn hǎo de líng gǎn lái yuán--Da Zu rock carvings are a great source of inspiration.
This is a picture of the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara.
This is a picture of the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara.

The Thousand Arms of Avalokitesvara
Avalokitesvara vows never to rest until he has released all human beings from samsara. After a lot of work, he realizes, to his dismay, that there are still a lot of people that need to be saved. Then his head splits into eleven pieces from trying to comprehend the needs of all those people. Fortunately for him, Buddha Amitabha comes to his rescue and gives him eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the poor, suffering people. Once he comprehends them, he reaches out to help them. Unfortunately, his two arms are not enough and they shatter into many pieces. Then Buddha Amitabha comes to his aid once again and bestows upon him a thousand arms with which to help the people.

This picture depicts demons digging graves for the dead.
This picture depicts demons digging graves for the dead.
Samsara is the cycle of life, death and rebirth, and the idea of Samsara is found in both the Hindu and Buddhist religions. Samsara brings only misery which is why Avalokitsvara wanted to release all human beings from it.