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Tallest Buddha statues around the world

A glimpse on Tall Buddha statues across the globe

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amitabha statue of buddha

BY MEGHA SHARMA

This article focuses on the most famous and tallest Buddha statues around the world. These statues mark an amazing display of a religion that has its origin from India. Buddhism is considered one of the 6 world religions. Around 200-500 million people call themselves Buddhists (followers of Buddha). The religion originated in India as a call for an egalitarian society. When the society was stratified into class and caste based structures, Buddha became the epitome for the downtrodden to exercise their equal status.

buddha and his followers
buddha and his followers

The story initiated with such a context and later this religion and its ideals attracted thousands of followers. The Dhamma, which was another term for the Hindu Dharma, was an enlightenment that Lord Buddha achieved after years of meditation. He wanted to unlock the mysteries of life and concluded with realising four noble truths: “(1) To live we must suffer. (2) Suffering is caused by craving. (3) Suffering can be overcome. (4) There is a path leading to the end of suffering. This path is called the Noble Eightfold Path. The path consists of right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.”

You May Also Like To Read Spread of Buddhism Globally, here is the link: http://www.newsgram.com/spread-of-buddhism-globally/ 

  • The spring temple Buddha, China

the tallest statue in the world
the tallest statue in the world

The temple was built in the Zhaocun township of Lushan county, Henan, China in 2002. The statue here depicts the Vairocana Buddha. It is being surrounded by the Fodushan scenic area which is 40 miles to the west of Pingdingshan town. The statue is 128m (420ft.) tall inclusive of a 66m (20ft.) lotus throne. It comes to a total height of 53m (502ft.) standing on the pedestal. It is the tallest statue in the world with a name in the Guinness book of world records. It weighs over 1000 tones and is made up of 1100 pieces of cast copper.

  • The Laykyun Setkya Buddha, Myanmar

the laykyun setkyar statue
the laykyun setkyar statue

It is the second tallest Buddha statue in the world. The construction took 11 years initiating in 1996 and finally built in February, 2008 by the chief Abbot Ven, who died in 2006. It is located in the village of Khatakan town, near Monywa, Myanmar. The statue is 130m (427ft.) long, comprising of a 44ft. throne. It is situated behind the statue of the reclining Buddha. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Myanmar.

  • The Ushiku Daibutsu, Japan

the ushiku daibutsu statue in Japan.
the ushiku daibutsu statue in Japan.

This statue made up of Bronze, and is located in the south-east of Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture, japan. Its height is 120m (394ft.) statue, with a 10m base and a 10 m lotus throne. It is also known as the Ushiku ARCADIA (Amida’s Radiance and Compassion Actually Developing and Illuminating Area). It weighs 4000 tons and was built in 1993 to commemorate the birth of Shinran (1173-1263), the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism, with its HQ at the Honganji temples in Kyoto. A zoo surrounds the premises and a firework show also happens on the 15th of August.

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  • The Guan Yin Statue of Hainan, China

the buddha statue in the nanshan temple complex
the buddha statue in the nanshan temple complex

The statue is also known as the Guan Yin, (Bodhisattava Avalokitsvara) of south sea of Sanya. It is a 108m (354ft.) long towering statue. It is located on the south coast of China’s Island province Hainan in the premises of Nanshan temple. While entering the temple complex, one need to access to approximately 50 square kilometres (19.3 square miles) of beachfront gardens, temples, monuments and statues. The statue is facing three sides with one towards the island and the other two facing the South East China sea intending to take blessings from the sea and the whole world.

  • The Sculpture Of The Emperors Yan And Huang (China)

the sculptures of the emperors with the illuminating lights
the sculptures of the emperors with the illuminating lights

These sculptures were built by the two most ancient Emperors of China Yan Di and Huang Di. Most of the Chinese consider themselves descendants of these Emperors. It took 20 years for these sculptures to get constructed. Finally, in 2007, they were publically opened. It is located in Zhengzhou province, capital of the Henan town in the people’s republic of China. The statue rises to 106m (350ft.) and is the fifth tallest statue in the world. The statues Emperors Yan and Huang, situated inside the Yellow River scenic zone of the city, look out over a large plaza from the top of a hill. It is illuminated by five hundred and ten lights and is a scenic pleasure to watch.

Megha is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her masters in English and has also done her studies in German Language. Twitter @meghash06510344

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Australia to return 1,800- year-old stolen Buddha statue to India

NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

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Lord Buddha statue. Image Source: www.travelweekly-asia.com
  • The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007
  • The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake
  • The NGA would be reviewing all 5,000 Asian antiquities in its collection due to the “culture” of failing to adequately check the background of its dealers

CANBERRA: A 1,800-year-old Buddha statue which was displayed in the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) is being prepared for its return to India, after it was found to have been purchased from an illegal antiquity trafficker, authorities said on Friday, July 22.

Stollen Buddha Statue at National Gallery of Australia. Image Source: www.theaustralian.com.au
Stolen Buddha Statue at National Gallery of Australia. Image Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

The second-century statue stands at 1.3 metres tall, and was purchased from Asian art specialist Nancy Wiener by billionaire Ros Packer, on behalf of the NGA, in 2007, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, documents revealed that NGA staff simply accepted Wiener’s story of how she came to be in possession of the antiquity, unaware that it was in fact stolen from an archaeological site in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

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NGA director Gerard Vaughan told News Corp on Friday that the sculpture would likely be returned to Indian government officials when they visit Australia for an Indian cultural festival in September.

“There is a high-level delegation coming in September so we’re investigating whether that will be the moment of handover,” Vaughan said.

Dr. Gerard Vaughan, Director of NGA. Image Source: http://nga.gov.au/
Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director of NGA. Image Source: http://nga.gov.au/

“Or (we) simply come to an agreement with India, because it is no longer our property, whether it can just be sent back to India. “

The condition of the statue was so good that it was initially thought to be a fake, though when experts from the Archaeological Survey of India examined the piece, it was revealed to be genuine.

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“One of the reasons was because it’s of great age and was in very good condition. Good condition can denote a fake,” Vaughan said.

“It was good for them to come back to us and say it was authentic and certainly something that should be returned to India, ” he said.

5,000 Asian antiquities to be showcased in NGA. Image Source: camd.org.au
5,000 Asian antiquities to be showcased in NGA. Image Source: camd.org.au

According to Vaughan, the NGA would be reviewing all 5,000 Asian antiquities in its collection due to the “culture” of failing to adequately check the background of its dealers.

The news follows the arrest last month of one of the gallery’s main suppliers, Subhash Kapoor, who was charged with illegal trafficking of antiquities. (IANS)

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Over 200 stolen artifacts worth Rs 667 crores ($100 million) returned to India by US

Among the artifacts returned to India was a bronze sculpture of Ganesha that is believed to be 1,000 years old

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Indian Sculpture. Image source: dawn.com
  • The artifacts are worth Rs 667, which is $100 million USD
  • Subhash Kapoor, who is believed to be involved in antiquities theft in different nations, now awaits trial in India
  • Apart from the United States, other countries are also returning stolen items to India

On Tuesday, June 7 at a ceremony at the Blair House (Washington), the United States returned over 200 artifacts to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some of the pieces are nearing 200 years old, and many were stolen from religious sites. Collectively, the pieces are worth Rs 667, which is $100 million USD. The returned items consist of religious statues, bronze and terracottas items.

Among the items stolen was a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar which represents a Hindu mystic and poet from the Chola period. Saint Manikkavichavakar’s statue was stolen from Chennai’s Sivan Temple. Also among the artifacts was a bronze sculpture of Ganesh. This sculpture is believed to be 1,000 years old.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Usually relationship between the countries of the world are very often covered by the present. It is the present that plays a big role, but sometimes heritage becomes important in the relations of two countries. Sometimes what cannot be done by living persons is done by idols.”

The investigation can be dated back to 2007, when special agents of Homeland Security Investigations received word that seven crates of artifacts were making a trip to America. This shipment was coordinated by Subhash Kapoor, owner of New York’s Art of the Past Gallery. Kapoor now awaits trial in India along with five other people who were arrested in connection to this case.

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Due to this these events both the governments and law enforcements are more acutely aware of the artifact trafficking that goes on across borders. They are not only working to end the transferring of artifacts, but they aim to return the items back to where they belong.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson had some words of wisdom, but was not able to attend the ceremony of returning the artifacts. He stated, “Protecting the cultural heritage of our global community is important work and we are committed to identifying and returning these priceless items to their countries of origin and rightful owners.”

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The United States is not the only country returning stolen items. Over the past two years many countries have set out to return items that are rightfully India’s. The Prime minister also went on to say, “For some, these artifacts may be measured in monetary terms and could be in millions for them, but for the people of India, it is a part of our culture and heritage that joins us to our past, that joins us to our values.”

Tourists who travel thousand miles to come to India are not only interested in visiting modern sites but are also interested in rich culture and history that a place offers. The artifacts that speak to these attributes have begun their trip home. US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch says, “It is my hope – and the hope of the American people – that this repatriation will serve as a sign of our great respects for India’s culture; our deep admiration for its people; and our sincere appreciation for the ties between our nations.”

-by Abigail Andrea, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @abby_kono

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Not just Kohinoor, the Amaravati Stupa sculptures were looted too

The Britishers not only pillaged our Kohinoor, but made us devoid of these marvelous sculptures too

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Amaravati Stupa sculpture Image: Wikimedia

In a recent article published at Scroll.in, Ruchika Sharma observes that we as a country limit our conversation to the prized ‘The Kohinoor’ whereas many other sculptures were also looted and taken away by foreigners.  Here is a brief summary of the article.

As the writer mentions “The only gain that one can foresee is the purely symbolic joy of telling our erstwhile colonial masters: We are getting our own back.” Demanding the very pride of Britain ‘The Kohinoor’, what exactly is the Indian government is expecting in return… (Probably ‘affirmative’). But that’s not how this world goes.Today we follow the concept of ‘Survival of the fittest‘. Debates and foreign tours can go on and on but it hardly changes the fact that those Britishers will return it. Instead, we can demand our other possessions back which will enhance our ancient heritage. It will help the archaeologists and researchers to dig in deeper into our historical glory.Things like various Buddha sculptures, heavy metals, Chola bronzes etc can be demanded instead.

Those Britishers looted us to our very core. As mentioned by our elders often, India was used to be a Golden Bird. So much was the wealth in our land but time to time strangers came and took whatever they were able to in every possible manner they could have.

Amaravati Stupa sculplture Image: Wikimedia Commons
Amaravati Stupa sculpture
Image: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most scandalous act done by those Britishers was that of ‘looting of the Amaravati stupa’.The Amaravati was one of the most glorious prized possessions of India.Starting from 1797 they looted it piece by piece completely and presently it is being displayed in the British museum named as ‘Amaravati gallery‘. Indian Government should focus on bringing these possessions back to our land.

Related article – History of Kohinoor by William Dalrymple

Amravati Gallery Image: Wikimedia Commons
Amravati Gallery
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Facts reveal that the stupa was built in 3rd century BC in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. With no proper use, it gradually lost its significance. Again in 1796 local workers of a Zamindaar discovered the ruins. Digging deeper into the ruins they found white marbles .They even used those marbles in building their structures with which they were working on.

After then came the first British ‘Colin Mackenzie’ to discover those ruins.In 816, he prepared some docs and pictures and ultimately transported those white stones to London.However, some were given to Bengal Asiatic society.But that was not the end of story.Most famous of people related to this temple was ‘Sir Walter Elliot’.Not knowing anything about archaeology he did some major damage to those ruins. Recklessly he carried out several operations at the site, prepared some sketches and continuing the trend he also transported nearly 121 sculptures pieces to London,which were later renamed as ‘Elliot marbles‘.
These sort of teleportation of the sculptures continued. Adding to the list was ‘JG Horsefall’. Putting the nail in the coffin he found ‘Relic Casket’ (and that was the most important part of the temple). However, its present location is still unknown.

A replica of Amaravati Stupa in the museum at Amaravati Image: Wikimedia Commons
A replica of Amaravati Stupa in the museum at Amaravati
Image: Wikimedia Commons

‘On-site preservation’ was a concept which wasn’t yet followed by any of the Britishers. Not even by some experienced archaeologists such as ‘James Burgess. He proposed to take 175 pieces .Then came ‘Captain Cole‘ (Curator of ancient monument in India).The first one to make a case on ‘on site preservation’.He proposed the erection of small buildings where they would be safely displayed. He even made one strong point that Indian belongings should not be taken to England.Instead, if required duplicate copies should be displayed in the museum.
However nothing good came out of it and a debate arose between Burgess and Cole which was ultimately in the favor of Burgess. Cole tried his best to make his point valid but his proposal was ignored. Eventually, the whole sculpture was sort of displaced to England or to Madras.

Cole was the person who sowed the idea of on-site preservation into the people’s mind. His belief was a monument should be given respect by not dislocating it. Today England owns it proudly irrespective of the fact that it is ours .It is high time that our government pressurizes British Government to give us back these belongings. So that the Stupa regains its dignity and original place where it once was.

Twitter handle – @pritam_gogreen

(Pritam, a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself.)