Scene 11, Baodingshan, Dazu (map)

This 31m (102') long, reclining statue occupies the east end of Baodingshan; it illustrates the death of Shakyamuni, attended by Bodhisattvas and other attendants (following pages). But this Parinirvana is unique: it includes only Buddha's head and his reclining torso; his lower body and legs were omitted from the statue, so as to create a larger bust than would otherwise have fit into the available space. Everything here is the product of Zhao's singular and idiosyncratic genius - this fellow was truly one of a kind.

An offering table is positioned towards the bottom of the sculpture. Above this, a platform supports effigies of the Buddha's relatives (concealed by the overhang in this photo). The emphasis on Buddha's family, here and elsewhere at Baodingshan, reflects the "family values" which had been adopted by Buddhism in order to thrive here, in Confucian China.