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Emergency Reinforcement of Baodingshan Enchantment Statues Speeds Up

By Eiko ChengICHONGQING|Sep 12,2021

The emergency reinforcement of the Baodingshan Dazu Rock Carvings, the UNESCO World Heritage cliffside statues of more than 1100 years,  will be completed by the end of 2021, iChongqing was informed recently.

The cliffside statues at Baodingshan of Dazu Rock Carvings present a layout centered on the Big and Small Buddha Bays, with 13 enchantment statues radially distributed within 2,500 meters around the bays. This large statue cluster, previously a venue for Esoteric Buddhism, has religious significance.  It depicts the last spread of Esoteric Buddhism in the Chinese mainland to date back to a period between the late Southern Song Dynasty and the early Ming Dynasty, filling a gap in the history of religion.

Baodingshan enchantment statues(Photo/Dazu Media)

Baodingshan enchantment statues. (Photo/Dazu News Center)

According to Feng Taibin, a staff member at the Engineering Center of Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute, the enchantment statues are an integral part of the Baodingshan grottoes and are mainly distributed in the Ancient Stone Stairs, Small Baoding Road, and Longtou Hill, closely related to the routes into the mountain. They are the masterpiece of Zhao Zhifeng, the chief designer of the Baodingshan cliffside statues, and an indispensable part of the Dazu Rock Carvings as a World Cultural Heritage Site, being of great value to the study of the Baodingshan grottoes.

However, the enchantment statues at Baodingshan have existed for nearly 1,000 years, suffering a dozen “fatal” ‘diseases’ due to the impact of natural forces and human activities such as rain erosion, rock cracking, and collapse.

Reinforcement of Baodingshan Enchantment Statues (Photo/Dazu Media)

Reinforcement of Baodingshan Enchantment Statues. (Photo/Dazu News Center)

In September 2015, the Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute and the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage began to work on the plan for the emergency reinforcement of the Baodingshan enchantment statues. The construction was commissioned to Beijing Guodian Water Resources & Electric Power Engineering Co., Ltd.

According to Han Guoxin, the person in charge of the construction site, this project marks the first time the enchantment statues at Baodingshan have been reinforced since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The performance of the project is challenged by the scattered distribution of the 13 enchantment statues, bad traffic, and different diseases of the figures.

70% of the emergency reinforcement was completed.(Photo/Dazu Media)

70% of the emergency reinforcement was completed. (Photo/Dazu News Center)

Over the past two years, the construction company has worked effectively to complete seventy percent of the emergency reinforcement of the Baodingshan enchantment statues through anchoring and grouting according to the plan, and the whole project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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