Mahao Cliff-tombs

On September 5, 2011, in More Cities, Sichuan, Tombs, Towers, Pagodas & Grottoes, by Jack Li

Mahao Cliff-tombs is on the eastern shore of the floodway between Mount Lingyun and Mount Wuyou. “Mahao” is the name of that place. Cliff-tombs are a type of tomb found in the west of Xichuan province, especially in the Leshan area. The tombs are square caves dug in the sandy stratum of the side of shallow hills, and the bodies were laid inside with funerary objects. Viewed from the outside, they look like caves full of mystery. Because this type of tomb had been popular about 1,800 years ago from the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Northern and southern Dynasties, they are also known as Eastern Han cliff-tombs.

Mahao Cliff-tombs are the most typical of the thousands of Leshan cliff-tombs along Min River, Qingyi River and Dadu River. There are altogether 544 cliff-tombs concentrated within an area of 200 metres long and 25 metres wide. Mahao Cliff-tombs have been honored “the crown of the Nan An tombs” since the early years. Stone-paintings and delicate relics unearthed in the tombs are stored there on display, including pictures of various Han-styled constructions, painted stone coffins, costumes, carriages and animals. Apart from this, there are many works of calligraphy on historical and mythical subjects. The tomb that is currently open to tourists is a large one with three caves. On the tomb gate there are elaborate carvings of different patterns on the larmiers, eave tiles and arches.

The Leshan Giant Buddha

Jack Li

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