The tall stone statue, built during the Tang dynasty. It is carved out of a cliff face of Cretaceous red bed sandstones that lies at the confluence of the Min River and Dadu River in the southern part of Sichuan.
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a 71-meter tall, the statue depicts a seated Maitreya Buddha with his hands resting on his knees. His shoulders are 28 meters wide and his smallest toenail is large enough to easily accommodate a seated person. There is a local saying: “The mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain”.
It is the largest and tallest stone Buddha statue in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world.Construction started in 713 AD, led by a Chinese monk named Hai Tong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river.
When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. After his death, however, the construction was stuck due to insufficient funding. About 70 years later, jiedushi Wei Gao decided to sponsor the project and the construction was completed by Hai Tong’s disciples in 803.
Featured Image: The Leshan Giant Buddha / Image: shoesyourpath.com