The carved statues at Baodingshan reflect the 3 religious traditions found in China at the time they were created; Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. The statues survived the Cultural Revolution because of isolation and the involvement of Chou Enlai,a native of the area.
The images carved in stone across the Dazu area amount to 60,000 different statues. Most were started in the Song dynasty and it took over 70 years to complete them. Their remote locations protected them from Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. A road in was not completed until the 1990’s.
Road to Baodingshan <ul><li>What did you notice about the road you just saw that struck you as unusual ? </li></ul><ul><li>Notice the fire works for sale at the roadside stands in the next slide. You can also buy your incense there before you enter the Grotto. </li></ul>
Three religions <ul><li>To make things clearer for viewers, I will color code images. </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhist will have yellow borders </li></ul><ul><li>Daoism will have green borders </li></ul><ul><li>Confucian images will have blue borders </li></ul><ul><li>Some images have more than one so they will be left white. </li></ul>
Buddhism <ul><li>In China the guides referred to Sakymuni instead of to Buddha. We had to ask him who he talking about since none of us were familiar with this Chinese name for the Buddha. </li></ul>
Confucian ideas <ul><li>Baodingshan reflects all three religious traditions favored in China. The son carrying his parents is an excellent example of the Confucian ideal of </li></ul><ul><li>Filial Piety. </li></ul><ul><li>Elderly parents are carried once they can no longer walk by themselves. </li></ul>
Daoist/ Taoist <ul><li>The interaction between the natural world and the world of man is shown by these figures. </li></ul><ul><li>People should be able to simply “ go with the natural flow “ around them, never fight against events . Accept life and what comes your way. </li></ul>
Portrayal of Buddha <ul><li>Please notice the very Chinese looking mother and sisters who are watching the </li></ul><ul><li>Buddha reach enlightenment. </li></ul>
Bodhisattva <ul><li>This beautiful figure represents the traditional Chinese goddess of mercy, Guan Yin. The face is so serene and the carving is so skilled that her face almost looks soft even though it is carved out of stone. </li></ul>
Buddhism <ul><li>Here the demon, Annica is trying to stop the wheel of life from moving by holding on to it. Inside are all kinds of people. Anica is unable to stop life no matter what he does. </li></ul>
This scene shows Buddhist and Confucian images together. In China, you do not practice one religion but can practice all 3 of the main ones simultaneously. This idea was and is very hard for westerners to understand.
Baodingshan Grotto contained dynamic art from the Tang dynasty. Our guide Jeff, explained that for the artists creating these statues was an act of worship. Chinese religious practice is very different from western tradition but the beauty of the images crosses cultural lines. These statues are priceless partly because so much of China’s history was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. They value what is left and work to protect it.