DAZU 11/2 Friday
This morning, coach to the stone carving of Dazu. Large numbers of Cliffside-cut sculptures
were created in Dazu County when the grotto art was declining in the northern
part of China and along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze. In Dazu there are about 100,000 statues
scattered over 70 places. According to
the written records on the stone inceptions, Dazu Rock Sculptures began to be
chiselled in 650. Coach back to Chongqing and You will visit Painter village. Overnight at the 4-star Holiday
Up at 7:30, leaving at 9.
On the Chungqing -Chengdu highway, now takes 4 hours down from 10
previously. Quickly change from urban to
rural. Terraces and small plots of vegetables intermingled with larger arrays
of rice paddies. Lots of ducks,
occasional water buffalo and a few cows and large pigs. Farmland is now contracted out yearly, and paid
for by a percentage of the harvest sold to the government at a fixed rate. Larger farmers hire tenant farmers, so it
looks like a return to the feudal based systems of pre-revolutionary China. Sweet potato vines thrown across barbed wire
security fences, drying for later use as hog feed. Rice paddies are flooded now, until spring
Arrive in Dazu about 11:30 for excellent tour of
Baodingshan, the grottos created by the monk Zhao Zifeng in the Song Dynasty
from 1174 to 1252. Incredible series of
bas relief, high relief and sculptures highlighting various events in Buddha's
life, and commemorating Lao Tse. Giant
buddhas, and a fantastic golden grotto of Avalokitesuava with 1000 golden hands
extending out like glittering flames, all gilt.
In the grotto of Enlightenment, one enters a dark chamber and only sees
the back of a statue of a fellow stone visitor.
Then, as one's eyes adjust, the disciples flanking the walls appear,
large lifesize statues of holy men.
Finally, in front, 3 forms emerge from the darkness, showing traces of
gilding -the Buddha and 2 bodhisatvas, attended by Zhao Zifeng and his teacher
Lu Bin Jin. A huge wheel of life shows
the fate of those who don't follow the path.
A huge reclining buddha precedes a grotto showing the birth of buddha,
attended by 9 Chinese dragons. A further
niche portrays the sacrifices of parents for their children. Tiny babies pop out of lotus flowers in the
next setting, showing the rebirth of those not ready to follow the buddha. The 18 levels of Hell follow -explicit
portrayals of the tortures conceived for each of the major sins.
Afterwards took photos of water buffalo plowing the fields,
but still misty and overcast.
Excellent lunch nearby -
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