After dropping water levels due to renovation work in east China’s Jiangxi Province, a local man noticed a Buddha’s head sticking out of the water.
Archeologists have dated the statue back to 1368-1644 during the Ming Dynasty. During the State Administration of cultural Heritage and Jiangxi Provincial Research Institute of Archaeology’s underwater mission, they discovered the statue was 12 feet tall.
600-year-old Buddha statue found as water level of Hongmen reservoir lowered in E China's Jiangxi in Dec 2016. Archaeology work is underway
Researchers also found a series of inscriptions located at the base of the hall. The inscriptions and statue location may indicate that this particular Buddha was a part of a temple. Currently, they are working on a plan to find more information as well as a way to preserve the finding.
The preservation of the statue was upheld for 600 years due to being submerged in water. Director of the Research Institute of Archaeology of Jiangxi province tells CNN that “if the statue wasn’t preserved in the water, it could have suffered weathering, oxidation or other ricks.”
A sunken, 600-year-old Buddha has emerged from the water in China https://t.co/m4MaFD33S1 https://t.co/YUTBnY2uKn
Finding this statue has been a unrealistic experience for the research team. In the 1960’s, most cultural relics were destroyed during the country’s Cultural Revolution. People were urged to get rid of anything that was old, feudalistic and superstitious.
Local official, Guan Zhiyong explained that the Buddha statue, built by ancient people, was created as a spiritual protector to calm the rivers as they flow together. The ancient town, Xiaoshi used to be an important trading community between the Jiangxi and Fujian provinces. Since it was in the middle of two intersecting rivers, the temple’s location hoped to bring safety to boats in the middle of the harsh currents.
After a construction company caused a local reservoir level to sink 10 meters, a 600 year old Buddha carving was found.
In the coming days, researchers will continue to investigate the statue’s history as well as search the location for more historical clues. Whoa, history is cool!
Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp