The geology of the rocks around Dazu, Sichuan Province has lent itself to the carving of thousands of figures. Estimates vary but there may be 50,000 individual carvings in the sandstone rock in this area.
Nearby is the famous reclining Buddha, but this photograph shows how in places, where protected from the elements, the original bright and vigrant colours still shine. The Buddha is surrounded by carvings of his attendent apostles.
Buddhism reached China from India in the first century (ACE) but really only grew in adherents between the 3rd and 6th centuries. Like almost everything else, China both absorbed and transmuted this new influence. Chinese Buddhism has its own distinctive flavour, it is based on the Mahayana school of Buddhism. It is strongest in the South and South-West of China.
Although all religious belief was supressed when the Communist regime was at the height of its Marxist fervour they stopped short of destroying all Buddhist temples and statues. Zhou Enlai himself is believed to have personally intervened to stop the destruction of the Baoding Buddhas.