A 30-foot-tall headless statue of Buddha built into a cliff has been found between two apartment buildings in the Nanan district of Chongqing, China. According to a report by South China Morning Post, the monumental work likely dates to the Qing dynasty, though the exact date of its creation is unknown.
The Nanan district’s cultural heritage department will have experts study the sculpture and assess its needs for preservation, and a rep for the organization told the Beijing News that, “at the current stage, we can’t give a professional conclusion” on the sculpture’s place in history. The two residential buildings were constructed in 1990 after the demolition of a temple at the same site, and the sculpture was uncovered during a clearing of foliage in the area.
Most residents in the two buildings adjacent to the work were apparently unaware of its presence, though one woman with the surname Deng who has lived there for decades said that she remembers construction on the sculpture. She told Chongqing Radio, “The construction [of the sculpture] halted after the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.” The mystery of the location of the sculpture’s head, however, remains unsolved.
The Buddha sculpture is not the only finding to make headlines in the international art world in recent weeks. Archaeologists uncovered a 5th-century Roman mosaic in Britain, which experts have deemed a “tremendously exciting” discovery that may impact our understanding of the Dark Ages. And experts have also unearthed the remains of a 1st-century dwelling in Nazareth that may have been the childhood home of Jesus.