An inside look at the giant jadeite Buddha

Published: 22/01/2010 05:00



Mr. Dao Trong Cuong.

VietNamNet reveals behind-the-scene information about the world’s largest jadeite Buddha statue by talking with Than Chau Ngoc Viet Company Director Dao Trong Cuong, the owner of the statue.

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Why do you still keep the statue’s site a secret when many Buddhist followers wish to know?

This is a big issue. I’m an artisan, so I only tried my best to sculpt a nice statue. It depends on the God and the Buddha to decide where the statue is seated. “Man proposes, God disposes.” The time for sculpture is up to two years. Many changes will happen during this period so I cannot anticipate what will occur.

What standards have you applied to select the craftsmen? Why did you hire Chinese artisans?

I’m a craftsman, so I know our weakness. Vietnam doesn’t have the tradition of making gem statues and we have never had such a big statue, so we have to invite Chinese artisans, who are better than us.

This statue must be sculptured by senior artisans. I had to go to China to see how they work and invited them to Vietnam. Many skilled artisans did not agree to join us. It took me three months to find good artisans and I’m still on the hunt for more. Top artisans from Than Chau Ngoc Viet will join the Chinese artisans.

It is costly to hire foreign artisans. Could you relay the expense of hiring 50 Chinese artisans to work in Vietnam for two years?

It is estimated at around $1 million.

Did your family try to dissuade you from spending such a huge amount of money to buy the jadeite block and sculpt the statue?

The sketch of the Buddha statue.

When I planned to buy that jadeite block, I had only one third of the money. I had to discuss with my family about selling one house, which we planned to give my children when they are married. I told them that we can buy a good house anytime, but we don’t know when we will see such a jadeite block in our lives again. I was surprised that my family immediately agreed with me.

Are you worried that the jadeite block may be broken during the sculpture process?

This is the risk faced by any craftsman, but I believe with the Buddha will support us.

This will be the world’s biggest jadeite Buddha statue and we know that you will register it for a world record. Do you think that in the next two years, there may be a bigger statue?

I only dare to say that this is the biggest statue at this moment. However, if anyone has such a big gem block, they will need several years to turn it into a statue.

Some said that the sketch stuck to the gem block is quite small so it may not reach 16 tons. Is that the expected size of the statue?

This is only the sketch, not the true size of the statue. The gem block is 3 meters high and 2 meters wide. We have not had time to calculate its size accurately. Our craftsmen are working on the statue now, but it will take them several months to polish the face layer and one month to consider how to cut it. I hope that the statue will be from 16-20 tons.

What will you do with the excess pieces of gem? How will you protect the gem block?

I will not throw away any pieces of the gem block. Rubbles will be carved into small Buddha statues. We will protect the craftsmen from being bothered while they are working. This 35-ton gem block needs two cranes to move it. The sculpture process will be watched by four cameras, but I believe that artisans are honest.

Do you plan to display the statue throughout the country or to other countries?

When the statue is finished, I will first bring the statue from the north to the central region and the south for people to admire. I know that that many Buddhists cried when they had no a chance to see the 18-ton jade Buddha statue in early 2009. If it is possible, I would like to also introduce the statue to the world.

Apart from the world largest gem Buddha statue, what is your dream?

I hope that the statue will be placed at a worthy site. I also dream of building a gem pagoda, but I think that I can’t do it myself and will need help of others.

Thu Huyen

Provide by Vietnam Travel

An inside look at the giant jadeite Buddha - Interviews - In depth |  vietnam travel company

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