Chongqing- Dazu Rock Carvings refers to the grotto art handed down from the Tang and Song dynasties in Dazu District. In the early Tang Dynasty, it was born concurrently with UNESCO World Heritage Dazu Rock Carvings. In September 2009, it was included on the list of the second batch of Chongqing municipal representative ICH projects. In December 2020, it was included on the recommended list of the fifth batch of national representative ICH projects. In June 2021, it was included on the list of the fifth batch of national representative ICH projects.
Dazu Rock Carvings(Photo by Luo Guojia)
Dazu Rock Sculptures mainly uses the sandstone and bluestone of Dazu District and the purple jade stone and white marble stone from Guizhou, Sichuan, and other places as materials and the hardware made in Dazu district as tools. Its content covers characters, animals, and building components in daily life, as well as practical appliances, living and working scenes. Of the characters, Buddha, Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara, and arhat that feature prominently in Dazu Rock Carvings are most often used. All the sculptures are handmade and complex processes are involved from purchasing materials, conception, drawing, clay sculpture, and molding to carving, fine-carving, fine-grinding, and polishing.
Its carving skills evolve from flat carving, high relief, round carving, and line engraving to group carving, hollow-out and concave engraving. Besides, a variety of artistic expression methods such as grid method, perspective method, line style, a combination of line and plane, and atmosphere-centered hiding are used to make sculptures more vivid, lifelike, and expressive. Dazu Rock Sculptures prizes the aesthetic rules and creation principles of rock carving art and boasts elegant styles, colorful contents, diverse skills based on materials, and a perfect mix of tradition and innovation.
Now, its inheritors are represented by Liu Nengfeng, Zhang Liansheng, Jiang Genhua, and Jiang Xiaojin. Dazu rock carving art has been handed down from generation to generation for over 1,300 years. As one of its representative heritages, Dazu Rock Carvings is a valuable gem of Chinese rock carving art characterized by Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian statues. It has been hailed as the Pearl of Oriental Art and made significant contributions to the development of Chinese rock carving art, Chinese fine arts, and even global fine arts.
Dazu District attaches great importance to the protection, inheritance, and development of Dazu Rock Carvings. So far, the district has held four rock carving competitions, organized five advanced workshops for rock carving talent, and carried out a series of activities including rock carvings on the campus and apprenticeship by masters. Moreover, the district is also working to build Dazu Rock Carvings Cultural and Cultural and Creative Park in the district. Encouraging the coordinated development of culture and tourism, Dazu Rock Carvings has enriched the functions of rock carving art and boosted local employment. By a perfect mix of tradition and modernity, it has remained relevant to modern life and aesthetics. Now, it has become a unique souvenir, a valuable handicraft collection, and a premium gift among people and has been sold to more than 40 countries and regions such as the United States, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.