Leshan Giant Buddha

Leshan Giant Buddha

World Heritage Site
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Leshan Giant Buddha

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Description:
The Leshan Giant Buddha () was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and at the time of its construction was the tallest statue in the world.

The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It was not damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

History

Construction was started in 713, led by a Chinese monk named Haithong. 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, a jiedushi decided to sponsor the project and the construction was completed by Haitong's disciples in 803.

Apparently the massive construction resulted in so much stone being removed from the cliff face and deposited into the river below that the currents were indeed altered by the statue, making the waters safe for passing ships.

Degradation

The Leshan Buddha has been affected by the...
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