Statue of Buddha measuring 3.8 meters (12.5) feet has emerged from the waters of one reservoir located in Jiangxi Province in China. The statue appeared after the water level dropped more than 10 meters during renovation work.
The statue is carved into a cliff, and it’s 600 years old. The first person who noticed the statue is a local villager. After the statue emerged it has garnered lots of attention from both tourists and locals. Locals believe the sudden emergence is an auspicious sign, while tourists are mostly interested in making photos of the statue.
Local archaeologists believe the statue may have dated back to the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They base their beliefs on the distinct carvings of the statue. There’s a chance the Buddha statue is even older, dating back to the Yuan Dynasty. Xu Changqing, director of the Research Institute of Archaeology of Jiangxi province, stated in an interview with CNN that “A preliminary study of the statue suggests it was probably built during early Ming Dynasty, maybe even earlier as the Yuan Dynasty.”
The water reservoir is located on top of the ruins of an ancient town, known as Xiaoshi. The statue was built to serve as a spiritual protector since two rivers meet in the area, making strong currents that overturned boats sailing through the intersection of the two rivers back in the day.
The statue was submerged during the 1960’s when the reservoir was built. 60’s were a time of cultural revolution in China, where people were told to get rid of all things old, superstitious, and feudalistic. Changqing said that the water protected the statue from harmful elements, enabling it to remain pretty much intact during all those years.
In addition to the ancient Buddha statue, the reservoir is also hiding an ancient temple. Both the temple and the ancient town of Xiaoshi are investigated by an underwater archaeology team. Jin Huilin, the curator of the museum of Nancheng County, said that “The ruins of Xiaoshi town were not exposed by the lowered water levels, but the underwater team also explored the town.”
The statue brought back the memories of elderly villagers, who saw it when they were young before the reservoir was built. Huang Keping, an 82-year-old local blacksmith had the chance to see the statue before it got submerged. He said that the Buddha statue was “gilded” back then.