Shuining Temple Grottoes
Buddhist Moya statues are sculptures in Tang Dynasty. There are only 27 complete grottoes and 300 statues. In the 11 well-preserved grottoes, the statues of the No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4 and No.8 are the most exquisite ones. They share the features of vivid styles, consummate skills, distinctive and lively characteristics. Between the walls, only one inscription in the third year of Zhidao in Northern Song Dynasty was kept. Maybe it is inscribed for the rebuilding of the statue, whose style indicates that it should be a sculpture in Tang Dynasty.
Shuining Temple was ‘Shining Temple in ancient times. It is said in Records of Huanyu that Shining County was abolished. At the place which was 25kilometers away from it to the southeast, Suining Prefecture was set up, and Shining County was under its jurisdiction. But at the third year of Sui Dynasty, the prefecture was abandoned. Then at the fourth year of Qiande in Northern Song Dynasty, Shining County was abandoned and it was incorporated into Huacheng Coounty( Bazhong at present). Shuinign Temple is located in Shuining Mountain standing on the banks of Shuining River and the piedmont of Longgu Mountain, both of which are the domain of the ancient Suining Prefecture and Shining County.
27 statues and over 300 bodies preserved in Shuining Temple Grottoes are all the presentation of art of Buddhist statues. Majority of them are works in the prosperous Tang Dynasty and minority are in the late Tang Dynasty. Though they are created for preaching Buddhist doctrines, in fact, they are feudal culture used to serve for exploiting class.
Shuining Temple Grottoes show the craftsmen’s excellent talents in sculpture and color-painting as in the vivid images of people, animals and plants they create, bringing people into an aura of enchantment and fascination. So, it can be duly called one of the top-notch works in the stone sculpture works in the Tang Dynasty, which is represented particularly in the sculptures and color-painting of Bodhisats and deities of skills and music. Being obvious and manifest in ‘feminization’, they are not only subtle and plump in body, supple and graceful in carriage, but also pretty and charming in appearance, beautiful and imposing in costumes. Bodhisats in Shuining Temple Grottoes are like women in the imperial palace. This can add not only a beautiful image to the ‘deity’, but also the mental feelings and living splendor of worldly people.