The Largest Statues in the World
Although new statues are made every day, many of us associate them with antiquity. Evidence shows that the art of statue making actually existed in pre-history. Although crude, these statues performed the same function of statue's throughout history. They represent the historical, social and cultural pre-occupations of both those they depict and those that make them. As both technology and sheer ingenuity progressed, statues were able to become more complex and larger in size. Many equated size with reverence. Essentially, the bigger the size, the greater the honor.
At oneHOWTO, we examine some of the largest statues in the world. We look at the history and meaning of the world's tallest statues, as well as provide photos for you to see them in all their gigantic glory.
- The Statue of Unity (India)
- Laykyun Sekkya Buddha (Myanmar)
- Ushiku Daibutsu (Japan)
- Birth of the New World (Puerto Rico)
- Guanyin of Nanshan (China)
- The Statue of Liberty (United States of America)
- Leshan Giant Buddha (China)
- Shri Hanuman Jakhu (India)
- Phra Buddha Dhammakāya Thepmongkhon (Thailand)
- Daibutsu of Tōdai-ji, Japan
The Statue of Unity (India)
The Statue of Unity is located in India, is believed to be the tallest statue in the world, with an incredible height of 182 m (597 ft). It was erected in tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a leader who was essential in the fight for Indian independence. An adherent of Mahatma Gandhi, it represents the unity of the various separate states which came together to create the country we know today as India.
The statue is located on an island in the Narmada River and has become a powerful nationalist symbol for the entire country. Its construction took place between 2013 and 2018, becoming a monumental challenge that required exceptional engineering skills. Millions of visitors every year visit the Statue of Unity.
Laykyun Sekkya Buddha (Myanmar)
The Giant Buddha of Laykyun Sekkya in Myanmar rises to an imposing height of 116 m (381 ft). This makes it one of the tallest statues in the world, although it is still only about 2/3 the size of the Statue of Unity. This monumental Buddha statue is located in the Bodhi Tahtaung Monastery near the town of Monywa.
It was completed in 2008 and represents Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. Visitors can ascend the statue through a staircase inside, allowing them to see its majesty up close. This statue is a clear testament to the deep spiritual devotion in Myanmar, becoming an expression of Buddhist faith and pilgrimage and meditation for thousands of believers and tourists.
Ushiku Daibutsu (Japan)
With a height of 120 m (390 ft), the Ushiku Daibutsu statue is considered one of the tallest in all of Japan. Until 2008, it was the largest statues in the world. However, it is now the fifth largest. This goes to show how recent the drive to create the world's largest statue has become. The Ushiku Daibutsu represents Amitabha Buddha and is located in a beautiful park with equally stunning gardens.
It was built to such a height so that visitors can climb to an observation platform inside to enjoy incredible panoramic views which cannot be seen in the photo below. The statue was designed as an expression of the desire for peace and happiness in the world, concurrently symbolizing the spiritual quest towards enlightenment.
Birth of the New World (Puerto Rico)
The Birth of the New World (Nacimiento del Nuevo Mundo in its original Spanish) is a 110 m (360 ft) statue located on the Atlantic coast of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It is the largest statue in the North American continent. As you can see in the photo, it is not as traditional a depiction as are some of the other world's largest statues.
This statue was designed by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first voyage to America. The statue shows Christopher Columbus with a rudder and in the background representations of the three caravels (Spanish sailing ships). They are the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to the New World.
Guanyin of Nanshan (China)
The Guanyin Statue in Sanya is an impressive 108 m (354 ft)-high sculpture depicting the Buddhist goddess of compassion. This statue stands on an artificial island in Nanshan Bay and has become a place of pilgrimage and meditation for many Buddhist practitioners all over the world.
Guanyin is a spiritually significant figure in the Buddhist tradition. This is why the statue receives thousands of tourists and devotees every year. They want to pay tribute to Guanyin and contemplate their spirituality in front of the towering construction. As if that were not enough, it has a privileged location facing the sea, creating a quiet environment conducive to meditation.
The Statue of Liberty (United States of America)
Although not the tallest statue in the world by some measure, it is one of the most recognizable in the Occident. It is certainly the most famous from the United States, although it was not built by them. At a height of 93 m (305 ft), it was gifted by France in 1886 as a way to promote freedom and democracy. Specifically, it was commemorated the alliance between France and the US during the American Revolution.
The full title of this statue is Liberty Enlightening the World (La Liberté éclairant le monde in French). This statue is a beacon of hope and opportunity for immigrants around the world, as it welcomed their arrival to America in the early 20th century. As you can see in the photo it is on its own island.
Learn more about one of the largest statues in the world with our article on how old is the Statue of Liberty?
Leshan Giant Buddha (China)
The Leshan Great Buddha is a giant Buddha statue carved into a cliff near Chengdu, China. With a total height of 71 m (233 ft), it is considered the largest statue of Buddha in the world. Unlike some of the other world's largest statues, it is carved out of a cliff face, rather than being a standalone structure. It was sculpted in the 8th century and is an important religious and tourist site.
This impressive sculpture, which faces the Dadu River, is a testament to China's rich Buddhist history and highlights the talent of the time to achieve such a sculptural feat. Local Buddhist monks began its construction to calm the turbulent waters of the Dadu River, which had caused numerous accidents. The statue became a powerful symbol of protection and spirituality. Its imposing presence continues to attract tourists from around the world.
Shri Hanuman Jakhu (India)
The Hindu religion is pantheistic, with many deities representing various aspects of spirituality. Within India are many imposing statues which represent them, with the Shri Hanuman Jakhu being one of the largest. The statue is an impressive representation of the god Hanuman , an important deity in Hindu mythology. With a height of 33 m (108 ft), this statue stands above the Jakhu Temple which is itself dedicated to Hanuman.
Apart from its religious significance, the Hanuman Statue offers exceptional panoramic views of Shimla and the majestic Himalayas. Climbing to the base of the statue involves a hike through lush forests and a climb of steep stairs, but the reward of views is magnificent.
Phra Buddha Dhammakāya Thepmongkhon (Thailand)
Although it is not the tallest, the Golden Buddha (see photo below) known as Phra Buddha Dhammakāya Thepmongkhon in Thai is still one of the largest statues in the world. It is exceptional for both its size and its elegant design. With a height of 92 m (302 ft), it represents Buddha in a sitting position on a lotus flower. The design of the temple and statue reflect the Buddhist philosophy of purity and spiritual rebirth.
The Buddha statue is a place of peace and contemplation in the midst of the bustle of Bangkok, making it one of the most precious places in the city. The statue and its tranquil surroundings offer an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital and find spiritual calm.
Daibutsu of Tōdai-ji, Japan
The Daibutsu (Great Buddha) of Tōdai-ji, in Nara, Japan, is considered one of the oldest and largest bronze statues in the world. Its height of 15 m (49 ft) may not be comparable to the rest of our list of the world's largest statues, but its brilliance and presence makes it an imposing figure, so much so that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The statue is located inside the Great Hall of the Buddha, a monumental structure in the Tōdai-ji temple complex.
Discover more about vital historical and cultural artifacts around the globe with our guide to the most important museums in the world.
If you want to read similar articles to The Largest Statues in the World, we recommend you visit our Travel category.