Sacred Dazu rock carvings leave China for the first time
January 26th marks a special day at National Museum Cardiff as it is the opening day of a very unique and exclusive exhibition.
From Steep Hillsides: Ancient Rock Carvings from Dazu, China is a collection of rare Chinese religious sculptures from the World Heritage site in Dazu.
The very earliest sculpture at the sites date from the mid 7th century and these beautiful carvings depict and were influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist beliefs.
The exhibition will contain sculpture mostly from the 10th to the 13th century. Eclectically bringing these religions together, they create a highly original manifestation of spiritual harmony and give life to the exceptional Chinese history of this particular period.
Off limits to visitors for many years, the carvings were only opened to Chinese travellers in 1961 and foreign visitors in 1980. The result is that they remain in excellent condition despite their creation centuries ago.
While many of the larger carvings still remain embedded in the cliffs and mountain sides of Dazu, this is the first time the more manageable sculptures have left Chinese shores and travelled West.
National Museum Cardiff will be the only museum outside of China to host this extraordinary exhibition, providing a fascinating insight into ancient rock art and Chinese culture to all those who come and visit.