World’s Largest Stone Buddha Opens After 6-month Emergency Restoration

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The 1,300-year-old statue began to show wear after previous repairs began to crack.

In Sichuan, China, visitors can climb 250 steps to scale a massive stone Buddha head that’s been carved into a mountain near the Minjiang river. It’s not just any Buddha head: Measuring in at 233-feet tall, the Leshan Buddha is the tallest one of its kind in the world.

It’s long been a popular spot for tourists. Combine that with the natural wear that weather can cause and the various cracks and sediment that had covered the head, made a cleaning necessary. Work started on October 8, 2018 to repair slits and bumps from previous repair work that had been done on the Buddha's head, neck, shoulders, and hair bun. 

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To ensure the future safety of the structure, four detectors were embedded into the statue to measure the temperature, humidity, water seepage, and moving of previous repair materials, said preservation engineer Sun Bo to CGTN. Now, after six months of work, the cracks along the head and chest of the sculpture have been repaired, according to The Daily Mail.

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Built more than 1,300 years ago during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), the Buddha isn’t the only reason people flock to the site. The Leshan Buddha was built right at the meeting point of the rivers: the Minjiang, Dadu, and Qingyi. It’s a magical scene made only more impressive with the massive hard-carved stone structure.

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The stairs up to the top of the head are open again as of April 1. If you’re curious how the reopening was received, hop over to People’s Daily, where they’ve shared a video of the massive crowds that trekked to see the newly restored face.