After wide media coverage in Beijing of the discovery of three Buddha statues of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) at Mount Pingdin of Badachu Park some twenty days ago, many climbing enthusiasts and devout Buddhists came rushing to get a first hand glimpse. The warnings at the gate of Badachu asking tourists not to worship the Buddhas on the cliff side for safety and protection reasons, seemed to be merely an advertisement.
Newspapers, half-burnt joss sticks, a cotton cushion, a cucumber and even a bag of milk were scattered before the Buddhas. "There used to be vegetation everywhere when we first climbed up to look for the statues. Now a road has been built," said Mr. Yang Jianlin, an administrator of the park accompanying me to the statue.
The biggest Buddha of the three is 1.2 meters high and 0.8 meters wide. The mineral pigments on the hair, cheeks and auspicious clouds have peeled off and lost their brightness due to the ages and oxidation. Inscriptions on both sides of the statue are too vague to read except "In the year 32 of Emperor Chia-Ching(1554)" on the right. Also easily recognizable is an antithetic couplet indicating the way of practicing Buddhism.
About 10 meters downwards, two smaller Buddhas were found on the same piece of rock. The inscription beside the left one reads "Stonemason Xu Dajin." "It is one of the most important discoveries of Buddhist carvings in the last 100 years in the Beijing area," according to Liu Weidong, associate researcher at Beijing Carved Stones Museum. “We will appeal to the relevant authorities to take immediate effective protection measures."
(Beijing Today 05/21/2001)