The 5 Tallest Sculptures in China, Guaranteed to Make Your Jaw Drop

Stuck in China because of ‘Big Rona’? Make the best of it and seek out these awe-inspiring sights around the country, from a terrifying ghost statue to a monument dedicated to mystical emperors

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2:10 PM HKT, Mon December 12, 2022 2 mins read

When discussing the world’s tallest sculptures, many can name the Statue of Liberty (93 meters) in Manhattan, New York, USA; the Statue of Unity (182 meters) in Kevadia, Gujarat, India; and the Leshan Giant Buddha (71 meters) in Leshan, Sichuan, China.

However, few know of the following statues in China, some surpassing the aforementioned structures in height, setting new world records. Here’s a rundown of China’s top five loftiest sculptures, from the shortest to the tallest.

1) Guanyin of Nanshan, Hainan

Measuring 108 meters, this statue of Guanyin, a bodhisattva (comparable to the Western concept of ‘saints’), is located by the South China Sea. You’ll find it in front of the Nanshan Temple in China’s southernmost province of Hainan, a premium beach destination.

tallest statue in China

Guanyin is the East Asian representation of Avalokiteśvara and is associated with compassion and love and is worshiped in multiple religions.

The world’s largest Guanyin statue, it took six years to build and was completed in 2005.

tall statue in China

The three-faceted statue represents three core elements of the generous bodhisattva: One side depicts Guanyin cradling a sutra, the second sees her holding a string of prayer beads, and the third shows her holding a lotus blossom.

2) Emperors Yan and Huang, Henan

Carved into the face of the Xiangyang Mountain by Henan’s Yellow River, this monument is the fourth-tallest statue in China at 106 meters high.

Its construction, which took 20 whole years, finally came to a close in 2007 and cost 22.5 million USD.

tall statue in China

The sculpture depicts two mythical Chinese sovereigns, the Flame Emperor and the Yellow Emperor, who are regarded as the initiators of Han culture. Today, proud Han people refer to themselves as ‘descendants of the Flame and Yellow Emperors.’

It is worth noting that the Henan region is known as the cradle of Chinese civilization and the birthplace of the Yellow Emperor. The province houses some historical sites tied to Chinese Buddhism, including the White Horse Temple and the Shaolin Monastery.

3) Ghost King Stone Carving, Chongqing

Described by some as the “largest ghost” in the world, the Ghost King sculpture is carved into a mountainside in Fengdu Ghost City in Southwest China’s Fengdu county, Chongqing.

Located at the northern end of the Yangtze River, the city is really a complex network of shrines, temples, and monasteries dedicated to Chinese ghost culture and the afterlife.

At 138 meters tall and 217 meters wide, the Ghost King can be spotted from most parts of the city. However, the site is now largely abandoned, and Mother Nature is slowly taking over.

4) Spring Temple Buddha, Henan

Made in the image of Vairocana Buddha, the second-tallest statue in the world stands at 208 meters high and is located in Henan, North-Central China.

tall statue

According to the BBC, the project — surrounding structures and all — cost a whopping 55 million USD, while the statue alone cost 18 million USD to build. The same report also reveals that the statue consists of 1,100 pieces of casted copper and weighs around 1,000 metric tons.

5) God of Longevity, Shandong

Holding a Guinness World Record as the largest stone carving in the world, this statue of the God of Longevity towers above the rest of the aforementioned statues at 218 meters high, bringing a new meaning to ‘head in the clouds.’

God of Longevity

Image via VCG

Situated on the northwest side of Meng Mountain in Shandong, a coastal province in East China, the statue possesses traits that represent longevity in Chinese culture, such as a high forehead, a long, white mustache, and a peach, an auspicious fruit associated with immortality.

The stone sculpture was designed by the Central Academy of Fine Arts, which is among China’s most prestigious art academies.

All images via Wikimedia, unless otherwise stated

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