Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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600-Year-Old Sunken Buddha Statue Emerges in China

Buddha Statue

(Photo : Getty Images) A Buddha statue is surrounded by debris from a collapsed temple in the UNESCO world heritage site of Bhaktapur on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal.

A Buddha statue believed to be 600 years old emerged at the Hongmen Reservoir in east China's Jiangxi Province in the city of Fuzhou after water levels dropped during renovation works.

The structure was first found by villagers late in 2016 after water levels dropped to over 10 meters for a hydro-power gate renovation project, the International Bfusiness Times noted.

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An archaeological team then carried out its underwater mission earlier this month under the State of Administration of Cultural Heritage and Jiangxi Provincial Research Institute of Archaeology.

The group discovered that a head of a 3.8 meter tall Buddha statue is sitting against a cliff and calmly looking over the body of water, CNN noted. Studying on the carving style, experts believe that it belonged to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

"A preliminary study of the statue suggests it was probably built during early Ming Dynasty, maybe even earlier as the Yuan Dynasty," Xu Changqing, director of the Research Institute of Archaeology of Jiangxi province, said.

However, researchers are also positive that the structure is just the tip of a hidden archaeological site.

Li Bin, a researcher at the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said a path located north of the statue was unveiled, while an inscription containing 30 letters was discovered to the south. In front of the statue lies the hall's foundation, which is around 165 square meters.

According to Guan Zhiyong, the head of Hongmen Township government, the Buddha sits at an intersection of two rivers where boats easily overturned because of the strong current, CCTV reported. Local records also showed that the reservoir lies on the ruins of the ancient Xiaoshi Township, which is a significant business hub between Jiangxi and Fujian provinces.

Meanwhile, Shan Keke, an official with the water authority of Nancheng, noted that when the spring flood arrives, the water level in the reservoir will rise and the Buddha's head will be submerged again.

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