Introduction to Leshan Giant Buddha（乐山大佛）
Leshan Giant Buddha is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, which was carved out of a cliff face by an 8th-century monk in southern Sichuan province. Built during the Tang Dynasty (618AD – 907AD), this Giant Buddha of Leshan overlooks the confluence of the Minjiang River, Dadu River and Qingyi River and faces the sacred Mount EmeI.
The solemn Buddha is 71 meters high and its head itself is 14.7 meters high. Its ear is 6.2 meters long, eye 3.3 meters wide, and shoulder 34 meters wide. Its head is covered with 1,021 chignons. Its middle finger is 8.3 meters long, and each of the feet are 11 meters long and 8.5 meters wide, large enough to accommodate more than 100 people sitting on it. The huge figure sits with his hands resting on his knees, his head reaching the hilltop and his feet the river, occupying the entire hillside.
In addition to the Leshan Giant Buddha, there are lots of famous sites located in the scenic spot in which the Leshan Giant Buddha is located including: Mt. Lingyun, Wuyou Hill, Guicheng Hill, Moruo Hall, Qianfeng Cave, and the sleeping Giant Buddha. There are many Han Dynasty cliff tombs, where many mortuary artifacts have been found making this area particularily important for archaeologists. Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei have now been unified into one scenic area and were put on the world cultural and natural heritage lists in 1996.
Construction on the Giant Buddha began in 713 AD. It was the idea of a Chinese monk named Haitong, who hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels travelling down the river. His plans were not just supernatural - the enormous amount of rubble carved away from the cliff would be deposited in the river, altering the currents and calming the waters. When government funding for the project was threatened, the monk is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. The construction project was continued by his disciples and finally completed by the local governor in 803.