Magaibutsu (Buddha statues in cliffs and rocks) (磨崖仏)

The term "Magaibutsu" refers to Buddha statues which were carved into the natural rock face or bare rock or the rock scattered on mountains including an alcove of rock face. While a stone Buddhist image (an independent stone Buddhist image) which was made of a cut stone can be moved, Magaibutsu can not be moved because it was carved on natural rock face and so on.

Summary

Carving a Buddha statue on natural rock had been widely seen in Buddhist countries of Asia. Ajanta Cave and Ellora Caves in India and Yungang Grottoes and Longmen Grottoes in China are especially famous.
Generally these large sites are called 'a stone cave' or 'a stone cave temple,' while comparatively smaller statues in Korean peninsula and Japan are called 'Magaibutsu.'
But there is not necessarily a clear distinction between them.

In Japan, the statues which are made of stone and possible to be moved are often called 'stone Buddhist image.'
But as 'the stone Buddhist image of Usuki' shows, Magaibutsu is often called 'a stone Buddhist image' as well, so that there is not so strict distinction between 'stone Buddhist image' and 'Magaibutsu.'

Magaibutsu in Japan

It is said that the beginning of the making Magaibutsu in Japan goes back to the beginning of the Heian period and that Sanzon (Triad) Magaibutsu at the site of the Komasaka-dera Temple (Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture) is an example in the early period. From the early part to the latter part of the Heian period, many Magaibutsu had been actively produced in various places, ranging from Kyusyu, Kinki, Kanto, Hokuriku districts to Tohoku district. Among them, it is said that about 80 % of Magaibutsu in Japan are located in the Oita Prefecture.

Usuki Magaibutsu

Usuki City, Oita Prefecture, from the Heian period to the Kamakura period, Special Historic Sites

Otani Magaibutsu

Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture, from the Heian period to the Kamakura period, Special Historic Sites

Motohakone Magaibutsu

Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture, the Kamakura period, Historic Sites

Nisseki-ji Temple Magaibutsu

Kamiichi Town, Toyama Prefecture, the Heian period, Historic Sites

Kumano Magaibutsu

Bungotakada City, Oita Prefecture, from the Heian period to the Kamakura period, Historic Sites

Sugao Magaibutsu

Bungoono City, Oita Prefecture, Heian period, Historic Sites

The stone Buddhist image of Mt. Daiji (the stone Buddhist image of Kannon-do Hall [a temple dedicated to Kannon], the stone Buddhist image of Amida-do Hall [a temple hall having an enshrined image of Amitabha] with the stone Buddhist image of Yakushi-do Hall [a temple hall having an enshrined image of the Healing Buddha])

Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture, the Heian period

Sanuki stone Buddhist image

Shioya Town, Shioya County, Tochigi Prefecture, from the Heian period to the Kamakura period

Hyakutai Magaibutsu

(Mt. Kankyo) Kasumigaura City, Ibaragi Prefecture, the Kamakura period

Komasaka Magaibutsu

Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture, the Heian period

Kokuzo Magaibutsu of Mt. Kasagi (Kyoto Prefecture)

Kasagi Town, Kyoto Prefecture, the middle of the Heian period

The Stone Cave Buddha of Mt. Kasuga

Nara City, Nara Prefecture, the Heian period

The Stone Cave Buddha of Jigokudani

Nara City, Nara Prefecture, the Heian period

The Ono-dera Temple Magaibutsu

Uda City, Nara Prefecture, the Kamakura period

The stone Buddhist image of Oitamotomachi

Oita City, Oita Prefecture, the Heian period

The stone Buddhist image of Takase

Oita City, Oita Prefecture, the Heian period

The stone Buddhist image of Inukai

Bungoono City, Oita Prefecture, from the Heian period to the Kamakura period

The stone Buddhist image of Ogatamiyasakohigashi

Bungoono City, Oita Prefecture, at the end of the Heian period

The stone Buddhist image of Ogatamiyasakonishi

Bungoono City, Oita Prefecture, at the end of the Heian period