Creating art takes a lot of imagination and time. But what about those large structures that were constructed during ancient times? Can you imagine the amount of time, effort, and creativity that they exerted when they created the Great Sphinx? With little and limited technology, some fantastic creations were made (unfortunately, often on the backs of oppressed laborers).
Sculptures and statues have been a part of human history for thousands of years. These awe-inspiring creations symbolize the power, devotion, and cultural heritage of the people and nations they represent. Here is a list of some of the largest sculptures and statues in the world, ranked by height:
1. Statue of Unity, India (182 meters / 597 feet)
Standing 182 meters (597 feet) tall, The Statue of Unity is the largest statue in the world. Located in the state of Gujarat, India, the figure is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India’s founding fathers and the first deputy Prime Minister of the country.
The statue stands tall on an island in the Narmada River, and it has attracted millions of visitors each year, making it one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. The statue, made of iron and bronze, was inaugurated in 2018 – beating Spring Temple Buddha as the largest statue in the world.
2. Spring Temple Buddha, China (153 meters/ 502 feet)
The Spring Temple Buddha is located in Henan Province, China, and is the world’s second-tallest statue. The total height of the monument is 153 meters (502 feet), including a 20-meter lotus throne and a 25-meter building. The statue depicts the Buddha in a seated position and is made of bronze.
Construction of the Spring Temple Buddha was planned soon after the Bamiyan Buddhas were blown up by the Taliban in Afghanistan. It was finished in 2008 as a part of the Fodushan Scenic Area, which is surrounded by temples, gardens, and a lake. It’s a popular tourist destination in China.
3. Laykyun Sekkya, Myanmar (116 meters / 380 feet)
Located in the Khatakan Taung region near Monywa, Myanmar, the Laykyun Sekkya stands 116 meters tall. Also, it stands on a throne of 13.5 meters (44 feet). The statue depicts a standing Gautama Buddha next to a reclining statue of Buddha, depicting the scene of Mahaparinirvana. It’s part of a larger complex that includes several temples, shrines, and a museum, making it a popular destination for both local and international tourists.
Construction of the statue started in 1996 and was completed on February 2008. It became the tallest statue in the world for a few months until the Spring Temple Buddha was completed in September of the same year.
4. Ushiku Daibutsu, Japan (110 meters/ 361 feet)
The Ushiku Daibutsu is located in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan. It stands at 110 meters (361 feet) on a 10-meter (33 feet) base and a 10-meter lotus platform. From 1993 to 2008, it held the record for the tallest statue in the world. Ushiku Daibutsu depicts Amitabha Buddha in a standing position, and it’s made of bronze.
Completed in 1993, the statue is part of a larger temple complex. It’s also known for its panoramic observation deck, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area. There’s an elevator that can take visitors up 85 meters (279 feet) to an observation floor.
5. Birth of the New World, Puerto Rico (110 meters / 360 feet)
The Birth of the New World is a 110-meter (360 feet) tall statue standing on the Atlantic coastline of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. When it was completed in 2016, it became the tallest statue or sculpture in North America and the entire Western Hemisphere.
The construction of the statue started in 1991 and is made of bronze and steel. It prominently depicts Columbus controlling a depiction of a steering wheel, with a backdrop that features the Pinta, Niña, and Santa Maria traversing the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Guanyin of Nanshan, China (108 meters/ 354 feet)
The Guanyin of Nanshan is a 108-meter (354-foot) statue of the bodhisattva Guanyin, the goddess of compassion. It is located in Sanya, a city on the southern coast of Hainan Province, China. Guanyin of Nanshan has three parts: one side faces the inland, and the other faces the South China Sea, symbolizing Guanyin’s blessing and protection in China and the whole world.
Fun fact: this statue only took six years to build. It was consecrated in April 2005, with the participation of 108 monks from different Buddhist groups from Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, and Taiwan, along with tens of thousands of pilgrims.
7. Emperors Yan and Huang, China (106 meters / 348 feet)
The Emperors Yan and Huang statue is located in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province in China. Standing 106 meters (348 feet) tall, the statue depicts two legendary Chinese emperors, Yan Di, and Huang Di. Yan lived in the country about 4,000 years ago and was said to be a descendant of Shennong, the first Chinese tribe. On the other hand, Huang, also called the Yellow Emperor, was a legendary hero and one of China’s famed Five Emperors.
The statue is unique because it’s carved into a mountain on the Yellow River. Construction spanned more than 20 years, and it was completed in 2007. It’s part of a larger complex that includes a park, museum, and other sculptures. The statue is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors and is considered one of China’s most impressive cultural landmarks.
8. Motherland Monument, Ukraine (102 meters / 203 feet)
A monumental statue in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, the Motherland Monument is part of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II.
The stainless steel statue was finished in 1981 and stood 62 meters (203 feet) tall on top of a museum building, making the overall structure measure 102 meters (335 feet). The statue features a person holding up a sword in the right hand and a shield in the left hand. The shield is emblazoned with the hammer and sickle emblem of the Soviet Union.
9. Sendai Daikannon, Japan (100 meters / 330 feet)
Sendai Daikannon is a 100-meter (330 feet) statue in Sendai, Japan, and is the tallest statue of a goddess in the country. At the time of its completion in 1991, it was the tallest statue in the world until Ushiku Daibutsu surpassed it in 1993. The statue depicts the bodhisattva Kannon (white-robed Kannon) bearing a gem in her hand.
Visitors can actually enter the statue itself, where the interior is divided into 12 floors, and view the 108 Buddha statues enshrined inside. The top of the statue can be reached using an elevator, where a visitor can enjoy a panoramic view from the cityscape of Sendai to the Pacific Ocean.
10. Guishan Guanyin of the Thousand Hands and Eyes, China (99 meters / 325 feet)
The fourth largest statue in China, the Guishan Guanyin of the Thousand Hands and Eyes, is erected in Ningxiang, Hunan province. This gilded bronze monument depicts a manifestation of the bodhisattva Guanyin associated with compassion. This beautiful monumental statue was completed in 2009, standing 99 meters (325 feet) tall.
The full name of the Guanyin is Guan Shi Yin, which means “she who listens to the complaints of the world.” Her number of eyes allows her to see people’s misfortunes, and her 20 pairs of arms come to the rescue and help as many as possible.
11. Statue of Peter the Great, Russia (98 meters / 322 feet)
The 98-meter high (322 feet) Peter, the Great Statue, can be found at the western confluence of Moska River in central Moscow, Russia. It’s a tribute monument to the legendary Russian tsar on a horse, who is one of the most prominent rulers in the country’s history.
The statue stands on a massive pedestal overlooking the Moscow River, making it one of the most iconic landmarks in Russia. It contains more than 600 tons of stainless steel, copper, and bronze.
12. Great Buddha of Thailand (92 meters / 302 feet)
The Great Buddha of Thailand is located in Ang Thong province, Thailand, and stands 92 meters (302 feet) tall. It stands at the Wat Muang Monastery and depicts Buddha in a seated position. Completed in 2008, it’s one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.
The statue is made of gold-painted cement and was built using the donated money from faithful Buddhists, considering it an act of merit.