In Sichuan Province, it has been towering over the Min River for 13 centuries and appears destined to defend it for eternity. This 71metre-high colossus, hewn out of the rock between 713 and 803 AD, was created to protect – and still does according to popular belief – the sailors braving these rushing waters. This monumental Buddha is a challenge to human limitations. Its simple features and intense beauty make it truly timeless.
Steve McCurry: “I have tried to convey through pictures the amazing sum of knowledge possessed by the Chinese at the time this Buddha was sculpted. It was an honour for me to undertake this task, especially as we were fortunate to meet some wonderful people during the photo shoot. What impressed me about this Buddha was its face that shows a neutral and benevolent smile. He observes the world and gazes affectionately at us as if he wished to protect us for all eternity."