One of the great wonders of ancient China lies hidden among the hills around Dazu, 125 miles (200km) east of Chengdu. Excavated between the 9th and 13th centuries AD, the UNESCO listed cave sculptures here are regarded as the high-water mark of Chinese rock art because of their naturalistic style, graceful poses and superb ornamentation.

Around 50,000 figures survive at half a dozen different sites, many of them forming narrative panels that recount religious myths and yield vivid, and often humorous, insights into life in China’s distant past – a fascinating fusion of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian styles.

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