The most stunning Buddha statues in China

Leshan, photo by Bernt Rostad

When it comes to statues of Buddha, all over the world people seem to respect the same rule: make it as big, as detailed and valuable as possible. From Buddha statues made of solid gold or precious jade, to huge towering statues that are bigger than an apartment block, Buddha statues all over China are nothing less than jaw-dropping. Buddha, the founder of one of the most important religions in Asia, is honored with temples and statues that are a must-see for anyone who visits the country. So prepare the be utterly impressed by some of the most stunning Buddha statues in China.

Leshan Giant Buddha, Leshan, Sichuan Province

The giant Buddha statue at Leshan was the idea of a Buddhist monk called Hailong, who started building it in the 8th century, in hopes that the god would calm the water of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers and make it easier for ships to sail on them. The statue was carved out of a cliff at the confluence of the three rivers and interestingly enough, the rubble removed during the construction fell into the water and actually made the river safe for navigation. The statue is 71 meters tall and 28 meters wide.

Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong

Tian Tan Buddha, photo by edwin.11

One of the most fascinating Buddha statues in China is actually located in the special administrative region of Hong Kong, a destination that is equal parts Chinese and foreign. The Tian Tan Buddha, also called Big Buddha, is a huge bronze statue completed in 1993. The Buddha symbolizes the communion between humans, nature and religion and it is one of the major center of Buddhism in Hong Kong and a very popular tourist destination.

Longmen Grottoes, Henan Province

The Longmen Grottoes is one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art, and a place where you can see some of the most stunning Buddha statues in China. There are tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples in the grottoes, most of them dating back to the Tang Dynasty. The statues were painted in brilliant colors, and even if the paint has peeled off long ago the statues are still as mind-blowing as ever.

The Great Maitreya Buddha, Bingling Temple, Gansu Province

Yungang Grottoes, photo by Jeremy Reding

The caves housing Bingling temple in Gansu Province have been under work for more than a millennium. The first grotto was finished in the 5th century, and more caverns and temples have been added since then. One of the centerpieces of the site is the Great Maitreya Buddha, a 27 meter sitting Buddha carved into the rock face.

Giant Buddha Statue, Yungang Grottoes, Shanxi Province

The gigantic Buddha statue carved in the caverns of Yungang is simply astonishing, and one of the most famous ancient Buddhist sites in China. Work on the caves began in the 5th century AD, and finished about a century later, but the statues and carvings were destroyed and restored several times over the centuries.

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