By Tim Binnall
Workers clearing vegetation from a cliff situated beneath a pair of residential buildings in China were stunned to see that a massive headless statue of Buddha had been carved into the rock face. The astounding discovery was reportedly made earlier this month in the city of Chongqing. Measuring a whopping thirty-feet tall, the presence of the statue was a surprise to residents of the apartments which sat atop it as the cliff had been covered by trees, leaves, and trash for decades.
The origins of the carving, which depicts the sitting Buddha with his hands resting on his lap, are something of a mystery. Authorities in China say that sculpture was once a part of a temple that had been at the location until 1987, when the building was subsequently dismantled to make way for the construction of the apartment complex. Although designated a cultural relic to be protected, apparently that oversight lapsed somewhere along the way and the statue vanished beneath a layer of rubbish and vegetation to the point that people living in the area today had no idea it existed.
Although some online have speculated that the statue could be thousands of years old, it is more likely that it had been built sometime in the last 100 years as part of the temple construction. Be that as it may, authorities in China have dispatched cultural experts to examine the carving to determine its age and set about a plan to protect the rediscovered piece if possible, though that could prove to be a challenge due to its rather precarious position on the side of the cliff.