Shibao Mountain is situated
in Jianchuan County, 25 km. away from the county seat
and 140 km. away from Dali. Here, evergreen trees, elegant
temples, superb and exquisite grottoes and the scenery
in general are attractive. Shizhongshan (Stone Bell
Mountain), a branch range of Shibaoshan, has a huge
bell-shaped rock on top of the mountain, hence its name.
The scenery on Shizhongshan is famed for its towering
peaks, dense forest, grotesque rocks, bamboo groves
and the luxuriant growth of azaleas. There is a temple
on the mountain, namely the Stone Bell Temple constructed
in the Nanzhao Kingdom period and renovated during the
Qing Dynasty. Up to the present, 16 grottoes distributed
over the Lion Pass, Shadengqing and the Stone Bell Temple
have been discovered and there are 139 statues in them.
Among them, there are a complete set of statues of the
royal family of a king of Nanzhao, Lord Buddha, monks
from Tianzhu (India today), animals and so on. Eight
of the 16 aforesaid caves, all located in the Stone
Bell Temple, are the most important ones. They are the
master pieces and representatives of the grotto art
of Jianchuan County. These grottoes are magnificent
with numerous statues exquisitely and finely carved.
They are also important source material for the study
of Nanzhao Kingdom.
The earliest carvings date back to
the Tang and Song Dynasties while the latest ones are
carvings of the Ming Dynasty.