University of Colorado At Boulder
The expansion of Buddhism from India into China followed several different routes, one of which was the Southern Silk Road. The cosmopolitan nature of this crossroads between India, the Tubo Empire of Tibet, the Nanzhao Kingdom in the Erhai region, and the Tang dynasty in China greatly impacted the types of Buddhist sites constructed during this time period.
Buddhism also took on new characteristics from the local ethnic groups in the Erhai region, particularly the Bai ethnic minority. The grottoes of Shibaoshan are one of these early Buddhist sites in Yunnan that reflect the integration of traditional Indian and Tibetan themes, foreign presences in Yunnan, and local Bai beliefs. This paper also looks at how Buddhism has been integrated with local beliefs through stories and briefly touches on its role in Bai religious ceremonies today.
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology
Pazmino, Audrey, "The Expansion of Early Buddhism in Yunnan: The Grottoes of Shibaoshan" (2012). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 1460.