iChongqing Title

Young Scholars Forge New Paths in Grotto Art Research in Chongqing

By ZHENG KANG|May 14,2024

Chongqing - The inaugural Youth Seminar on Ba-Shu Grotto Archaeology and Art kicked off on May 11th. Co-organized by the Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute and the School of Archaeology and Museology at Sichuan University, the seminar drew over 20 exceptional young scholars. Their collective mission was to delve into the archaeological and artistic significance of the Ba-Shu Grottoes, fostering in-depth research and establishing a platform for intellectual exchange.

The seminar buzzed with discussions on four central themes: Ba-Shu (Chongqing and Sichuan regions), Grotto archaeology, iconographic studies, grotto construction history, and regional religious culture. It underscored the region's unique heritage and research potential by presenting twenty cutting-edge academic findings, strongly focusing on Ba-Shu grottoes and sculptures. Embracing diverse disciplines such as archaeology, history, art, and religion, these studies reflected current trends and pivotal issues in Ba-Shu Grotto research, notably highlighting the burgeoning field of grotto archaeology and its survey research advancements.

Jiang Siwei, Director of the Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute, issued a call to action during the forum. (Photo/Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute)

Beyond scholarly discourse, the forum broadened horizons on Ba-Shu Grottoes' preservation strategies, scientific exploration, and rational utilization, offering fresh perspectives to global cultural heritage conservation endeavors.

As home to 2,850 prized grotto sites, the Ba-Shu region has captivated scholars worldwide. The Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute has been at the forefront of grotto temple protection, research, and utilization efforts. Notable projects include constructing the Sichuan-Chongqing Grotto Temple National Relic Park and implementing over ten protection initiatives. The institute's pioneering role was further highlighted by its successful hosting of the first International Forum on Cave Temple Conservation, culminating in the issuance of The Dazu Declaration on Cave Temple Conservation in the Context of Climate Change, which provides invaluable insights into the safeguarding, management, research, and utilization of the Ba-Shu Grottoes.

Jiang Siwei, the director of the Dazu Rock Carvings Research Institute, called for action during the opening ceremony of the forum, stating, "Taking the inaugural Youth Seminar on Ba-Shu Grotto Archaeology and Art as an opportunity, let us continue to carry forward the academic spirit and style of the older generation of scholars, constantly promoting the achievement of more fruitful results in the archaeology and art of the Ba-Shu Grottoes."


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