Sina
Edition: CHINA ASIA USA EUROPE AFRICA
Home > Photo
Saturday, February 27, 2016, 13:24

Stolen Buddha head statue returns to mainland

By Zou Hong / Agencies

Stolen Buddha head statue returns to mainland
Abbot Hsing Yun poses with the statue. (Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily)

BEIJING - Abbot Hsing Yun, one of Taiwan's most influential monks, donated a Buddha head statue to the Chinese mainland in Beijing on Friday.

The head statue, which was made by order of a North Qi emperor around 556, originally belonged to Youju Temple in Lingshou county, North China's Hebei province.

For some 1,500 years, the 0.47-meter-tall Buddha at Youju Temple Tower brought a tinge of the North Qi dynasty to the temple.

The white marble figure represented state-of-the-art craftsmanship at that time.

Stolen Buddha head statue returns to mainland
Abbot Hsing Yun puts his palms together devoutly. (Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily)

Archaeologists believe that to prevent the statue from being stolen, the gate of the tower was deliberately made smaller than the statue.

That plan seemed to have worked until 1996, when four thieves cut off its head and sold it overseas. The thieves were caught soon afterwards, but the head was nowhere to be found.

In 2014, a local follower presented a Buddha head to Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order in Taiwan. Hsing Yun asked mainland cultural heritage authorities to help find the body which matched the head.

Stolen Buddha head statue returns to mainland
Head statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. (Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily)

Which led Liu Jianhua, one of the archaeologists who was supposed to be looking after the Buddha when its head was chopped off, to make a trip to Taiwan. The moment she saw the head, she knew what it was.

Master Hsing Yun decided to make the statue whole, and, last May, the body was transported to the island and reunited with the head. On Friday, the 90-year-old Buddhist escorted the head to the mainland himself.

"The sea cannot sever our historical bond, nor can it cut off our connection and blood lineage," said Hsing Yun. "Our common Chinese cultural traditions cannot be chopped off by external forces."

The complete statue will be exhibited at the National Museum of China on March 1.

After the exhibition, the statue will be preserved in Hebei Museum in Shijiazhuang city, North China's Hebei province.

Stolen Buddha head statue returns to mainland
Abbot Hsing Yun poses with the head statue. (Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily)

Latest News