Until the middle of last century, the village of Shaxi flourished thanks to its position on the Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Trail and southern Silk Road. Goods and ideas were exchanged between south-western China and Tibet, Burma and India. The cultural transactions facilitated by the trail, are apparent due to the 1,300-year-old Shibaoshan grottoes that contain Buddhist rock carvings. These carvings attest to the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet to Yunnan. After years of neglect, Shaxi has undergone an extensive architectural renovation with aid from the World Monuments Fund. The project is considered a model of preservation and sustainable development by UNESCO.