Leshan Giant Buddha
Leshan Giant Buddha is located to the east of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, at the confluence of three rivers, namely, Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. The statue makes itself the most renowned scenic spot in that city. In December, 1996, the location of the Buddha was included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites.
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a statue of Maitreya (a Bodhisattva usually represented as a very stout monk with a broad smile on his face and with his naked breast and paunch exposed to view) in sitting posture. It is reputed to be the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. A local saying explains, "The Mountain is a Buddha, the Buddha is a mountain".
The charm of the Buddha lies not only in its size but also in its architectural artistry. There are 1,021 buns in the Buddha's coiled hair. These have been skillfully embedded in the head. The skill is so wonderful that the 1,021 buns seem integral to the whole. Another architectural highlight is the drainage system. This system is made up of some hidden gutters and channels, scattered on the head and arms, behind the ears and in the clothes. This system, which helps displace rainwater and keep the inner part dry, plays an important part in the protection of the Buddha. The large pair of ears, each seven meters (about 23 feet) long, is made of wood and is decorated by mud on the surface. For craftsmen of thousands of years ago, it was not easy to fix these to the stone head.
The protection of the Leshan Buddha has drawn global attention. The protection of the Leshan Buddha is a project of ecological and scientific importance. At present, the comprehensive treatment of the mountain, water, roads, and gardens in the area has been completed, and the environment has improved.