aodingshan is located 15 kilometers to the northeast of longgang Town, seat of Dazu country, 527.83 meters above sea level. Baodingshan Rock Carvings include those at Dafowan and Xiaofowan centering around the Saint Longevity Monastery. These carvings were created under the supervision of Zhao Zhifeng in more than 70 years from A.D.1174 to 1252 according to an overall plan. With nearly 10000 statues, the rock carvings at Baodingshan form in a large ritual site of Tantric Buddhism. Moreover,it is the locus of elite in Dazu Rock Carvings ,and it have reached a new peak.
Baodingshan Rock Carvings differ from those of earlier Chinese grottoes in many aspects:
1). Baodingshan Rock Carvings form a large grotto ritual site of Tantric Buddhism rarely seen in China. Dafowan is the outer site where Buddhist followers are preached, while Xiaofowan is an inner courtyard for devotees to be initiated into monkhood or nunhood and to practice Buddhism. They combine to form a complete system， with each carrying characteristics of its own. Carved at the protrusive part of the grotto is the Ritual Site of Liu Benzen and an attached epigraph, and standing at the center of stanes more than 20 spots are the images of Liu benzen and Zhao Zhifeng who have just becomes Buddhas.
2). Baodingshan Rock Carvings have developed a form of expression different from any others in Chinese speleology. Among the thousands of statues at Dafowan, for instance, none repeat each other in terms of subject matters. The niches and caves are bath linked together by Buddhist doctrines and connected with each other in form to constitute an organic entirety. The contents of these statues start from idealistic desires and end with the enlightenment of Liu Benzun and his final becoming into a Buddha. Embodies in these statues is a complete system composed of Buddhist doctrines, philosophical ideas, and final consequences of behaviours. Attached to the narratives sutras have been carved scriptures, Buddhist hymns, and panegyrics. Excellent in both drawing and text, they differ from sutras in collection. As carved Buddhist documents that had not been entered into and collections of sutras, they have great academic value in the study of Buddhist classics.
3). With close attention to the expounding of philosophical principles, these statues reflect the integration of the basic doctrines of Buddhism, the ethics of confucianism, the disposition of rationalism, and Taoism. Incorporating the principles of various schools of thinking, they reflect the characteristics of Buddhist ideology on China’s Song Dynasty.
4). Baodingshan Rock Carvings are examples of nationalization and lifelike reproduction of speleology in china. The sculptors had strived to represent life in as vivid a way as possible when choosing the contents and models of the statues. In the Picture of Parental Love sutra, for instance, a series of episodes in daily life such as prayer for a child, pregnancy, childbirth, wedding, and funeral have been described to depict in great details the whole process of great painstaking efforts by parents to foster their off springs. They are extremely vivid and impressive. With springs flowing in forests and mountains, clouds flying over, 10 buffaloes grazing under the cave of 10 herdsmen, the Picture of Buffaloes and herdsmen which runs more than 30 meters ling is a lyric reproduction of the life of herdsmen. The flute-playing girl, the happy chicken-raising girl, and the drunken father failing to recognize his son, the drunken husband failing to recognize his wife the drunken brother failing to recognize his brother, and the drunken sister failing to recognize her younger one in the Picture of Drunkards are all true to life. The careful experience and accurate reproduction of by the sculptors really compel admiration.
5). Baodingshan Rock Carvings are the culmination and creative development of the art of speleology in many aspects. The principle followed by sculptors in the creation of the statues is to persuade and arouse the piety of Buddhist followers. When modeling images, attaching decorations, arranging layouts, providing drainage and lighting, using supports, and producing perspectives, the sculptors had paid great attention to creating beauty in both form and mood. The 1007 arms of the thousand-armed Avalokitesvara, for instance, are all unevenly placed, with closed-up fingers, and some haring hands with extending fingers. They create a scene like the splendid tail of a peacock. The miracle of Buddhist art in the world is as well as the largest Avalokitesvara of this kind in China, the whole carving is full of grandeur and magnificence. The Image of Sakyamuni Entering Nirvana is 31 meters long, with the upper part of his body exposed. So far as its composition is concerned, the image gives one an impression of hidden beauty by forcing one to feel instead of to see and to read beyond what can be seen. This is a successful application of the traditional aesthetic concept of expressing the infinite with the finite as commonly used in Chinese landscape paintings. The Nether World is consisted of horrific 18-storied hells where the figures with horrifying oxen heads or horse faces and sinners crying under cruel torture with daggers, saws, boiling oil, freezing ice, or boiling water form a shocking picture. The scores of statues in the Cave of Full Enlightenment, on the other hand, are delicately carved. Wearing clothes resembling sick or satin, they sit on platforms like wood carvings. A skylight has been arranged at the upper part of the cave for the purpose of lighting. Through this skylight, lights shed straight into the center of the cave which, when juxtaposed by darkness and brightness, becomes even more mysterious, The lofty statues of the Three Saints of Huayan school stand by a cliff in a forward bending manner, thus successfully avoiding perspective deformation. They wear kasayes with rolling folds, and their capes drape from their elbows down to their foot as supports to their arms. This is why the stone pagoda, which weighs hundreds of jin, has stood steadily in the hand of Manjusri after a thousand years. Using the natural mountain spring on the cliff, the carving of Nine dragons Bathing the Prince is composed of nine dragons carved at the upper part of a cliff, with clear spring water gushing from the mouth of the dragon in the middle to wash the Prince all year round, adding life into the statue. This is a fine example of suiting measure to local conditions.