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Baodingshan - Overview 1

  1. X
  2. Yellow diamond marks location of Baodingshan. Taken from UNESCO World Heritage website.
  3. 1902 missionary map of Sichuan, with Dazu/Baodingshan marked in red. X
  4. Overview of Baodingshan complex – looking from the west side of the river across Great Buddha Bend at the Buddha in parinirvana image, hidden by the structure covering the 1000-Armed Guanyin. 1992.
  5. Plan of Great Buddha Bend grotto – Circled numbers highlight narrative tableaux. “11” marks the location of the Buddha in parinirvana image.
  6. Modern entrance to Great Buddha Bend, #24 on the plan
  7. View of the river down below
  8. Secular inscriptions and later Daoist works near entrance.
  9. More secular inscriptions surrounding Vairocana statue, #26 on plan
  10. Half bust image of Vairocana flanked by stele.
  11. Lion figure, #27 on plan, guarding entrance to Cave of Complete Enlightenment.
  12. Interior of Cave of Complete Enlightenment, #28 on plan.
  13. 1944 photo taken by Yang Jialuo of interior of same cave.
  14. Drawing of the Taming of the Wild Ox tableau.
  15. “Again I return to the left side of the south cliff, and follow the cliff to the west, where are carved nine head of oxen, and ten oxherders. The oxen are either eating grass or drinking water or haltered lying down or leaning against trees or looking up to moo, or pulling against their ropes, not wanting to be lead. Some of the herding boys vigorously drag or whip their oxen, others sleep against a rock, or sit on a rock and play the flute, or stretch their necks to gaze, or wrestle with each other.” – translation of text left by 18th century visitor to the site; image detail from Oxherding scene.
  16. Former entrance to the monastery and temples above.
  17. The Eight Guardian Kings, #2 on the plan.
  18. Wheel of Transmigration – The Six Paths of Rebirth
  19. Wheel of Transmigration and Baodingshan placard, #3 and 4 on the plan.
  20. Inscription by Song scholar Du Xiaoyan – right to left ‘ 寶 Bao’ 頂 ding’ 山 shan’ = Precious Summit Mtn
  21. Path in front of images shows limited space for worship.
  22. Three Huayen images, #5 on the plan. Offerings to the deities were placed on the small altars in front of them.
  23. Precious Relic Pagoda, #6 on plan. Text reads shelibaota – “sarira pagoda’
  24. 1000-Armed Guanyin under restoration, 2008. #8 on the plan.
  25. Parinirvana of the Buddha, #11 on the plan. Note birth of the Buddha imagery at far left.
  26. Detail of mourners at the parinirvana.
  27. 1944 photo of Yang Jialuo expedition to Baodingshan.
  28. Looking down at the space in front of the parinirvana image from the temple above.
  29. Birth of the Buddha, part of # 12 on the plan.
  30. The Bathing of the baby Buddha by nagas, #12 on the plan.
  31. The Peacock Queen, #13 on the plan.
  32. Cave of Vairocana, #14 on the plan.
  33. Vairocana image inside of cave.
  34. “Gentleman for Managing Affairs, Judge of Chongqing Prefecture Lu Jiangzhi, and Zhang Xian of Jindou, working on the people’s behalf, together with Confucian school instructors Lu Ling and Liu Tianren of Dazu County, and assistant instructor Fan Jian of Wu Chang in the eleventh year of the Yongle era [1413], in the month when chrysanthemums have their yellow flowers, three days before the Chongyang [Double Brightness] festival, traveled to sincerely inscribe this.” Rubbing and inscribed text found at entrance to Cave of Vairocana. Translation below, highlighting festival activities at Baodingshan.
  35. The Scripture on the Kindness of Parents tableau, #15 on the plan
  36. Detail of number 5 of the 10 Kindnesses of Parents
  37. Looking back towards the Kindness of Parents tableau from in front of the Repayment of Kindness tableau.
  38. Diagram of tableau # 17 on the plan.
  39. The Buddha Preaches the Scripture on the Repayment of Kindness tableau.
  40. Detail of one scene from the tableau, the Buddha Visits his Dying Father
  41. Translation of the carved Buddhist text. Underlined section is what is being represented.
  42. The Pure Land at Great Buddha Bend, # 18 on the plan. Detail of being reborn in the Pure Land.
  43. The Hell tableau, #20 on the plan.
  44. Diagram of the Ten Kings of Hell and the 18 Hells.
  45. Detail of monk in hell with inscribed texts highlighted.
  46. “Alas, I have rambled all over the world, and wherever I have climbed and observed, I have filled my eyes and ears. On my visit to Baoding today, I have gazed broadly at the cliffs and hollows, and scrutinized the Buddhist statues in detail, then raising my voice and startling the crowds, I can say: As for Baoding Temple, the Tang Dynasty’s Master Liu studied Wu Daozi’s brushwork, and on the surrounding cliffs and pavilions for miles he chiseled reliefs and carved statues; strange changelings and mysterious monsters; truly, there has been no other place like it, past or present.” – thoughts of an 18th century visitor to Baodingshan.
  47. Translation of one of the inscribed texts found in hell.
  48. Top left: Hell of feces and filth; [L] Hell of Boiling; [R] Admonition against Drunkenness
  49. Asceticism of Master Liu, #21 on the plan.
  50. 1. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas 2. Witnesses to Master Liu’s Deeds 3. Master Liu’s 10 Austerities 4. Recipients of Master Liu’s Deeds 5. Ten Wisdom Kings Diagram of tableau 21 - Master Liu’s Austerities.
  51. Austerity number 5 – Master Liu cutting off his ear.
  52. Plaque showing Dazu and Baodingshan’s acceptance as a World Heritage Site.

Editor's Notes

  1. Red ‘X’ on map indicates location of Baodingshan in China.
  2. The channel in front allows for water run off to flow in front of the image. It has been a part of the site since at least the Qing Dynasty.
  3. Baodingshan and all of the Dazu Carvings are ‘rediscovered’ in 1944 by the sinologist Yang Jialuo. Many thanks to the Yang estate for use of this image.
  4. The kindness of giving up the dry spot on the bed.
  5. Many people thought the site was the work of the famous Tang ascetic Master Liu, but that is not the case. He is represented at the site, but Baodingshan dates from centuries later.