The picture shows the inner page of Dazu Rock Inscriptions published in the 1990s.

Photo courtesy of Dazu Rock Carving Research Institute

  China News Service, Chongqing, June 29 (Reporter Zhong Yan) The opening meeting of the National Social Science Fund's key project "Research on the Rescue Collection and Arrangement of Historical Materials of Grotto Temples and Stone Inscriptions in Chongqing" was held at the Dazu Rock Carving Research Institute in Chongqing on the 29th. It marks the official start of the 5-year rescue collection of grotto temples and stone inscriptions in Chongqing.

  According to reports, the overall scale of the cave temples and stone carving sites in Chongqing is large, the themes are diverse and the content is rich, and they are an important part of Chinese cave temples.

As an important part of the cave temple, inscriptions cover the political, economic, cultural, religious, folk customs, life and other historical information of the regional society that can be supplemented by documents. They have great historical value and can be called a treasure house of stone carving documents.

However, because Chongqing is a high-temperature and high-humidity area, and the stones are mostly sandstones that are easy to weather and denudate, most of the cave temples and stone carvings are exposed in the wild in the mountains. For thousands of years, they have been eroded by various diseases for a long time. Weathering, more fragile inscriptions are constantly being destroyed, and a large amount of precious historical information is constantly disappearing in the passage of time. It is imminent to carry out rescue collection and sorting.

  The project carried out this time will be led by the Dazu Rock Carving Research Institute, with the participation of relevant cultural protection units in Chongqing.

The project team will collect, record and sort out extremely precious historical materials such as statues, inscriptions, scriptures, and inscriptions in more than 700 grotto temples and stone carving sites in Chongqing spanning more than 1,000 years from the Sui and Tang Dynasties to the Republic of China. It is necessary to establish a complete archive of inscriptions, save the "text codes" on these cliffs before the weathering disappears, and provide scientific and detailed basic documents for the protection and research of cave temples, inheritance and promotion, and regional historical and cultural research.

  Li Fangyin, director of the Dazu Rock Carving Research Institute, said that in the 1990s, the Dazu Rock Carving Research Institute carried out a special rescue collection and arrangement of the historical materials of Dazu Rock Carvings, and published the "Dazu Rock Carving Inscription Record", which is currently the only grotto in Chongqing. Temple inscriptions record results.

In recent years, archaeological reports such as The Complete Works of Dazu Rock Carvings (11 volumes and 19 volumes) and the Tongnan Thousand Buddha Temple have comprehensively, systematically and accurately collected the inscription information of the archaeological research objects by more scientific means and methods.

However, the above-mentioned achievements are mainly concentrated in Dazu and some large-scale grottoes, while the inscriptions in other large and medium-sized grottoes have not been investigated, collected and sorted out, let alone published.

  This project is the first comprehensive and systematic investigation, compilation and research on the historical materials of the cave temples and stone inscriptions in Chongqing.