The Than Chau Ngoc Viet Gemstones and Jewellery Company on Jan. 18 held a ceremony to begin the sculpting of a jade statue of the Great Buddha Sakyamuni in the northern province of Hai Duong.
State President Nguyen Minh Triet and the patriarch of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha, the Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, removed the seal from the block of jade used for the statue.
President Triet said the sculpture of the Buddha serves not only religion but also humankind in general, adding that it will be an extremely valuable piece of art with a high cultural value that will last for generations.
The Than Chau Ngoc Viet Company bought the 35 tonne block of jade at a rare gemstones fair in Myanmar . It plans to sculpt a 16-tonne statue, which at 3m high and 2m wide with a nine-tonne foundation will become the biggest jade statue of Buddha in the world when completed in 2011. A group of experienced foreign artisans have been hired for the work.
The world’s current biggest Buddha statue is 2.5m high and weighs 3.9 tonnes./.