China’s Rock Statues

Mangshan Giant Buddha

Mangshan Giant Buddha (蒙山大佛), situated in Shanxi province in China’s Yellow Plateau, is the world’s earliest giant rock statue.

According to the ancient chronicles, several Tang Dynasty emperors and China’s only woman emperor Wu Zetian paid personal tributes to the super-solid symbol of enlightenment.

The statue, measuring 63 metres tall, was carved in the 6th century but disappeared 700 years later during the Mongols’ occupation of China in the 13th century.

After another 700 years in 1980, the statue was rediscovered under piles of rubbles, but its head is missing.

In the early 21st century, based on the other stone Buddha heads from that period, the local government reconstructed a 12-metre tall head.

A Secluded Buddha Statue in Jinan

The existence of this ancient rock statue of Buddha in a secluded cave in the outskirts of Jinan, Shandong province, was unknown for centuries even by the locals until a village woman found it by accident in the early last century.

Years later in 1921, a Japanese heritage researcher learned about the statue from the woman and took several photos of it. According to his study, the statue should be the work of Tang or North Song Dynasty 1,000 years ago.

Now the statue is no longer there and the 100-year-old photos are the only evidence of the existence of this priceless artwork.

A close look at the statue’s face.

A close look at the statue’s right eye.

A close look at the statue’s left eye and lips.

In the cliffs nearby, there are dozens of rock statues of Buddha and Bodhisattvas carved by Tang and Song artists.

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