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Built continuously from the first year of the reign of Emperor Yonghui of the Tang Dynasty (650) to the Qing Dynasty, Dazu Stone Carvings' Grottoes represent a beautiful gem in the grotto arts of China. Located in Dazu County, 81 kilometers by expressway, west of the city proper of Chongqing, the stone carvings of Dazu, chiefly consisting of Buddhists images, are the art of religious nature. The Dazu Grottoes spread across more than 75 sites in the county, and contain over 50,000 stone sculptures. They are mainly located on Baoding (Treasure Peak) Mountain, Beishan (Northern) Mountain, Shimen (Stone Gate) Mountain, Nanshan (Southern) Mountain, and Shizhuan Mountain.
In 1999, it was listed as the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. All the Cliffside carvings, ingeniously conceived with a great originality, are well known for their variety in subject matter, richness in content, and their co-existence of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Nevertheless, the stone carvings of Dazu Grottoes differ somewhat from the stone sculpture produced in the previous period. Emphasizing on both the law of aesthetic standards and the law of art form, the outstanding practice in Dazu was regarded as a good example to promote the advance of the grotto art from chiseling to Cliffside carving.
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