Alongside the ancient Silk Road in Gansu Province, Buddha statues that have been underground for up to a thousand years were unearthed at the Dayun Temple historical site. Experts say this excavation could shed new light on Buddhism in the Song Dynasty some seven hundred to a thousand years ago.
More than 240 of them were found in a cellar. The statues date back to various dynasties in ancient China, with a time span of about 600 years. The oldest one was made in the Northern Dynasties, about a thousand five hundred years ago.
Archaeologists have flocked to the site to examine the findings. The statues are believed to have been buried hundreds of years later, in the Song Dynasty, which spanned from 960 AD to 1279. Almost every one of the statues is broken. According to Buddhist convention, when statues of the Buddha were broken, the monks would bury them together, instead of just throwing them away.
Most of the statues will be taken to the Jingchuan County Museum. Jingchuan County was a military stronghold in ancient times. It was also one of the centres of Buddhism in Northwest China, which especially flourished in China during the Tang Dynasty, well over a thousand years ago.