The human civilisation has always been drawn into building large structures. We build these to commission or commemorate significant historical events, religious figures or characters.
In the past, the Egyptians have built the Great Sphinx and the pyramids to display their power and wealth. Thousands toiled under the burning sun for hundreds of years just to complete these great works. Thanks to new architectural and engineering discoveries, we are now able to erect statues more than five times larger than the Great Sphinx. Here is a list of the top 10 tallest statues from around the world:
10. Grand Buddha at Ling Shan
Depiction: Gautama Buddha
Location: Wuxi, Jiangsu Province China
Height: 88 m (289 ft)
Standing at 88 metres, The Grand Buddha on the Longshan Mountain in Jiangsu, China takes the place on this list as the tenth tallest statue in the world. The Grand Buddha is a depiction of Shakyamuni or Gautama Siddhartha, the primary figure in the Buddhist religion. The statue weighs about 700 tons and is painted bronze.
9. Great Buddha of Thailand
Depiction: Gautama Buddha
Location: Ang Thong, Thailand
Height: 92 m (302 ft)
The Great Buddha of Thailand is the ninth tallest statue in the world, standing at 92 metres tall. The statue is also known as the Big Buddha, Mahaminh Sakayamunee Visejchaicharn and Phra Buddha Mha Nawamin. The statue is made of cement and is painted gold. The construction of the statue lasted 18 years and is located in Ang Thong Province, inside the Wat Muang Monastery.
8. Peter the Great Statue
Depiction: Peter I of Russia
Location: Moscow, Russia
Height: 96 m (315 ft)
Peter the Great or Peter I was born Pyotr Alexeyevich. He ruled as emperor of Russian from 1682, to his death in 1725. He waged and won numerous wars in an effort to expand the territories of the “Tsardom of Russia”.
The Peter the Great Statue in Moscow, Russia, is the 8th talleststatue in the world at 96 metres. It was built to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Russian Navy, which was founded by Peter the Great. The statue was completed in 1997.
The statue was designed by world-renown Georgian artist Zurab Tsereteli. Tsereteli made many other art commissions for Russia; including Poklonnaya Gora’s War Memorial Complex, the Manege Square ensemble and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
7. Qianshou Qianyan Guanyin of Weishan
Location: Weishan, Changsha, Hunan province, China
Height: 99 m (325 ft)
Qianshou Qianyan Guanyin or “Guishan Guanyin of the Thousand Hands and Eyes” is the seventh tallest statue in the world at 99 metres tall. The statue is made of gilded bronze and depicts Guanyin with 32 arms (16 at each side), and stands on a Lotus throne mounted on a pedestal.
Six Guanyin gods are revered in Buddhism, one of these is the “thousand-hand” Guanyin. According to legends, the wife of the Miozhuang king who ruled over an ancient country gave him three princesses possessing unsurpassed beauty. The youngest of three devoted herself to Buddha and decided to serve in the Temple as a nun.
The King disapproved of her daughter’s decision, so he pulled down the temple and expelled all the nuns. Furious for his actions, the god of heaven inflicted the King with 500 incurable abscesses, which could only be cured by medicine made from the hand and eye of the king’s own daughters.
Only the youngest agreed to sacrifice her hand and eye. The act pleased the highest lord of Buddha, who later awarded her with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes.
6. Sendai Daikannon
Depiction: Bodhisattva Kannon (Guanyin)
Location: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Height: 100 m (330 ft)
Bodhisattva Kannon is one of the most significant figures in Japanese Buddhism. “Kannon” is actually just the Japanese pronunciation of “Guanyin”. Bodhisattva Kannon also goes by the name “Kanzeon Bosatsu”, which is Japanese for “He/she who perceives the cries of the World.” The Korean names for Bodhisattva Kannon are Gwan Eum and Gwan Eum Bosal.
The statue depicting Bodhisattva Kannon in Sendai, Japan stands at 100 metres, taking the 6th place in this list. Tourists can take the elevator to reach the top of Sendai Daikannon.
5. Emperors Yan and Huang
Depiction: Yan and Huang, Emperors of China
Location: Zhengzhou, Henan, China
Height: 106 m (348 ft)
The fifth tallest statue in the world stands at 106 metres and depicts the ancient Emperors Yan Di and Huang Di of China. The heads of the two great emperors of China were sculpted out of a mountain and took almost 20 years to complete.
According to legends, the two rulers were the forefathers of the great Chinese nation, hence the old Chinese title “Descendants of Yan and Huang.” Together with Emperor Huang, Emperor Yan supported and promoted Chinese agriculture. It is said that Emperor Yan made farming tools use for crop planting and discovered how to produce textile from hemp.
The statue was completed in 2007 in Zhengzhou, Henan, China.
4. Nanshan Haishang Guanyin
Depiction: Guanyin or Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
Location: Sanya, Hainan, China
Height: 108 m (354 ft)
Avalokiteśvara, known in East Asia as Guanyin, is Sanskrit for “Lord who looks down.” Guanyin is considered to be the embodiment of compassion, which is present in all Buddhas. Guanyin is depicted as either a male or a female depending on the Buddhist culture. Other famous references to Guanyin are “Holder of the Lotus” and “Lord of the World.”
The Nanshan Haishang Guanyin statue in Sanya, Hainan, China is 108 metres tall. This particular Guanyin statue has three facades. One façade faces inland China, while the other two face the South China Sea. The three-aspect representation of Guanyin is said to symbolize Guanyin’s protection over China and the rest of the world.
3. Ushiku Daibutsu
Depiction: Amitabha Buddha
Location: Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
Height: 110 m (360 ft)
Ushiku Daibutsu ranks as the third tallest statue in the world at 120 metres (including its 10 metre base and 10 metre lotus platform), and is made of bronze.
Ushiku Daibutsu depicts Amitābha, who is one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is seen as the quintessence of one’s “deep awareness of individualities.” Amitābha is Sanskrit for “infinite light” and is often associated with longevity. From Buddhist scriptures, Amitābha is said to have done so much good deeds from his past lives that he gained infinite merits for reincarnation.
Visitors can take the elevator to reach the statue’s observation floor, which is located about 85 metres from the ground. The statue is also know to locals are the Ushiku ARCADIA, which is short from “Amida’s Radiance and Compassion Actually Developing and Illuminating Area.”
2. Laykyun Setkyar
Location: Monywa, Sagaing Division, Myanmar
Height: 116 m (381 ft)
Siddhārtha Gautama, who later on became known as Gautama Buddha, is the centre of all Buddhist teachings. Followers of Siddhārtha’s teachings regard him as the “Supreme Buddha” or the first awakened/enlightened one in all eras.
The Kaykyun Setkyar in Myanmar that depicts Gautama Buddha ranks second at 116 metres. The statue stands on a 13.5-metre throne that sits in the Khatakan Taung Village in Myanmar.
The statue took more than 2 years to complete. Chief Abbot Ven. Nãradã, who initiated the project, died shortly after the start of its construction. Laykyun Setkyar was completed on the 21st of February, 2008.
1. Spring Temple Buddha
Depiction: Vairocana Buddha
Location: Lushan, Henan China
Height: 128 m (420 ft)
Vairocana is the centre of the Vajrayana Buddhism concept of the Five Dhyani (Wisdom) Buddhas or Jinas, which represent the true qualities of The Great Buddha. Buddhists see Vairocana as the embodiment of the idea of Emptiness, which reminds them that their existence and identity are both empty and not permanent.
The statue was named after the nearby Tianrui hot spring. The near-constant 60-degree celcius water from Tianrui is believed to have gotten its curative properties through the blessings of Vairocana.
The statue stands at 128 metres, making it the tallest statue erected by man. The Buddha is mounted on a 25-meter pedestal, which sits on a hill that is reshaped to form another 15-meter pedestal.
A total of $18M was spent on the statue and about 1,000 tons of casted copper was used in its construction.
How This Compares to Other Famous Structures
Approximate heights of various notable statues:
1. Spring Temple Buddha 153 m (incl. 25m pedestal and 20m throne)
2. Statue of Liberty 93 m (incl. 47m pedestal)
3. The Motherland Calls 91 m (excl. plinth)
4. Christ the Redeemer 39.6 m (incl. 9.5m pedestal)
5. Statue of David 5.17 m (excl. 2.5m plinth)
So has any one seen any of these for themselves? Perhaps there is another statue you have seen that shouldn’t be missed? We’d love to hear from you below in the comments!