A grotto with 20 Buddhist statues dating to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) has been found in Shahe City, north China's Hebei Province, said the local cultural relics protection authorities.
Built in 1503, the grotto is located on the hillside in Beipenshui Village at an altitude of 1,200 meters. The grotto measures 5.8 meters wide and 2.8 meters high. The 20 stone Buddhist statues with different postures and expressions are situated on stone pedestals in the grotto.
A cliff tablet, which is 2 meters high and 0.69 meters wide, has been found outside the grotto on the west.
Han Zhigang, director of the cultural relics protection institute of Shahe City, said that the inscription on the cliff tablet recorded that the ancestors of a local family had moved here from another village to trim trees, cultivate mountain fields and build Buddhist statues.
It is a rare historical scene inscription of clearing land and building a village, which is of important historical value to the study of social production and life of Shahe City in the Ming Dynasty, according to Han.
The grotto is well-preserved, providing important materials for the study of the local grotto culture in Shahe City, Han said.