Asia is home to 99 percent of the world's largest statues. Americans might still marvel at the beautiful statue bestowed to the country by France, but Lady Liberty doesn't hold a torch to the immense, intricately created statues of China, Japan, Thailand, and Burma. Many of the statues depict Gautama Buddha, also referred to as Siddhārtha or Shakyamuni Buddha, the spiritual leader and founder of Buddhism. Thailand's Great Buddha represents Theravada, the oldest surviving branch still in practice of Buddhism. Translated to "Teachings of the Elders," the Buddhist teachings are popular in Southeastern Asian countries Thailand and Myanmar. The Asian countries share several similar statues of the 33 forms of Guanyin or Kannon; however, they don't share the same names, something that can confuse anyone without a basic understanding of Asian cultures, languages, or Buddhism. China's Guan Yin also appears as Kuan Yin, Kuan Yim, and Guan Yim, which all depict Avalokitśvara. The female form represents the embodiment of the compassion of Buddha. In Japanese Buddhism refers to her as Kannon and Thailand uses Kuan Eim. In addition, Amitabha is a popular and simplified version Buddhism that originated in second century India. Nine of the countries with the largest followers of Buddhism are located in Asia. Half of the largest statues in Asia are in China, where 102 million Buddhists live. Each unique statue rests on a pedestal, building, or similar platform and range from 502-feet to 289-feet. In contrast, New York's Statue of Liberty is 305-feet tall. The statues are in parks, protected areas, and often in close proximity to prominent temples. Constructed in concrete, steel, and bronze, as well as coated in gold, diamonds, and precious jewels, they are popular tourist attractions, drawing thousands of visitors each year.
10 The Grand Buddha, Lingshan, Jiangsu Province, China
9 Dai Kannon at Kita no Miyakopark, Ashibetsu, Hokkaido, Japan
8 The Great Buddha of Thailand
7 Guan Yin Statue, Hainan Island, China
6 Sendai DaiKannon, Japan
5 Emperors Yan and Huang Statue, China
4 Guishan Guanyin of the Thousand Hands and Eyes, China
3 Ushiku Daibutsu, Ushiku, Japan
2 Laykyun Setkyar Statue, Monywa, Myanmar, Burma
1 The Spring Temple Buddha, Henan, China
Standing 502-feet with a 66-foot lotus throne on an 82-foot pedestal, the Spring Temple Buddha in China's Henan province is the world's tallest statue. Built in 2002 in retaliation of the Taliban's destruction of the sixth century Buddha's of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. The statue in the Fodushan Scenic Area cost an estimated $55 million to build. Resting on a monastery, visitors hoping to reach the escalator that goes to the lotus flower throne where they can touch the gigantic feet of the golden Buddha must climb the 365 steps. Once at the top, the reward is breathtaking views of the rolling countryside, small mountains, and surrounding dense forest in the secluded town of Pingdingshan. Nearby the area is the Foquan Temple, built during the Tang Dynasty. Inside the temple is the "bell of good luck," one of the largest working bells in the world. The bell weighs 116-tons.
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