The 9 Worst Statues In China

These 9 Chinese statues are so awful, many were demolished within days of their unveiling after enduring scorn and ridicule by the People’s Republic’s people.

The Brylcreem Buddha of Luoyang

In April of 2013, citizens of Luoyang in east-central China’s Henan province were excited about the soon-to-open Hualong Amusement Park with an enormous gold-toned Buddha statue at its heart. Imagine the shocked silence when the covers came off the statue, revealing what incredulous netizens quickly dubbed the “Big Maitreya with the Swept-back Hairstyle.” When pressed, park managers admitted the statue’s head was modeled after a local entrepreneur who believed his grinning golden visage would help “inspire young people.” Inspire them to commit arson, one would guess.

After a few days of scathing and unrelenting criticism from local web commentators, park visitors arrived to find the statue headless – odd, yes, but still an improvement. As for the missing head, it turned up shortly thereafter mounted on a small, nondescript building some likened to a public restroom, presumably so young people would be inspired to answer nature’s call in a more entrepreneurial manner.

Jurassic Peck

Want to know where the money you spend at Walmart is going? Try Inner Mongolia, where white elephants and green dinosaurs (in this case, one and the same) are free to roam. Unlike other constructed-but-unoccupied cities in the area, Erenhot boasts a population of about 75,000 and a thriving wind farm but city managers felt something was missing. Solution: build a Dinosaur Town & Tea Road Park, plunk a flock of life-sized dinosaur statues around the wind farm to make it look more natural, and have two of the biggest beasts kiss as they arch their necks over a highway… because dinosaurs DID kiss, of course. Wiiiilmaaa!

So Long Soong Ching-ling

So Long Soong Ching-ling, we hardly knew you or at least, knew your statue! Soong Ching-ling was the second wife of Sun Yat-sen, founding father of the Republic of China, and is held in high regard by all Chinese to this day. Therefore it was no surprise the Henan province Soong Ching-ling Foundation was able to scrape up 120 million yuan ($19.5 million) to construct a 24 meter (78.5 ft) tall statue honoring her in Henan’s capital city of Zhengzhou. What WAS surprising was that the statue was demolished before it was even half-finished. Sun, I am disappoint.

Curiously, it seems that managers at the Henan Provincial Soong Ching Ling Foundation took issue with the appearance of the statue, which was supposed to have been based on a design by Professor Liang Mingcheng of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. “Though the statue and our design look alike, it is terrible in both effect and quality,” stated (or rather, spun) Professor Liang, who evidently isn’t one to mince words. End result: mince the statue.

Jinshitan’s Volley

Jinshitan (“Golden Pebble Beach”) near Dalian in northeastern China has a lot going for it, such as, er, a golden pebbled beach and a cool rock formation called “Dinosaur Swallowing the Sea”. It also has this statue, which sort of looks like the unfortunate lovechild of Princess Fiona and the Great Gazoo. The story goes that “Sandy” was built in honor of the world beach volleyball championships held in Jinshitan several years ago. The tour has moved on but the statue remains… sorry, Jinshitan.

Hotel Hell

Cruise the Yangtze River for about 170 km (110 miles) downstream from Chongqing and gaze out towards the mighty river’s northern bank, and there you’ll find Fengdu. A modern ghost town designed to express the Chinese concept of the underworld, Fengdu is basically Hell on Earth. Ghosts may indeed find it appealing, people not so much.

With that kind of drawing power it’s wonder Fengdu is a ghost town and the partially-finished hotel looming eerily over it remains unfinished. Lessee, stay at a hotel with one entire side that looks like the God of the Underworld? Most tourists would have reservations… not!

Dazed and Confucius

One of the cool things about monumental statues is that they may be huge but they’re obviously not real. Chinese artists Zhang Huan evidently didn’t get that memo because his oversized animatronic Bathing Confucius is both towering AND life-like: internal motors make the figure appear to be breathing in and out. Let’s just hope it (a) doesn’t have gas and (b) isn’t on permanent display around pregnant women, children or, well, anyone.

Kobe Bronzed Somewhere Else

Perennial scoring machine for the Los Angeles Lakers and 15-time NBA all-star Kobe Bryant deserves a statue to stand alongside those of Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chick Hearn outside the Staples Center and now he does… well, sort of. The bronzed “Black Mamba” has indeed been rendered in metallic, larger than life fashion but his likeness is rooted outside the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts’ Sculpture Museum in Guangzhou, China.

Like it or not (and opinions vary widely), the bronze Bryant isn’t likely to be moved from his pedestal anytime soon. That’s a pity, as the unsigned and unattributed sculpture is probably the work of a student at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts who didn’t know how to properly render the famous Kobe Death Stare in cast molten metal.

Think Pink

As the most populated nation on Earth, China has done much to discourage its citizens from having too many (meaning more than one) children. Perhaps one of the most innovative initiatives (though not officially intended as such) is a statue in the smallish city of Shiyan named “The Expression of Sex” or as we’d like to call it, the Big Turn Off.

Absent Apsara

59 feet, 40 tons, 11 days… we’re referring to the late and unlamented Flying Apsara statue in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s height, weight, and lifespan after completion. Dedicated on Friday, August 6th of 2012, the statue of the goddess Apsara in flight decked out in heavy makeup and a long skirt covered with living grass and colorful flowers loomed over a busy Urumqi intersection for a very limited time only. Following an 11-day firestorm of intense Internet criticism, the much-mocked Flying Apsara was suddenly and unceremoniously chopped into four parts and hauled away to parts unknown on flatbed trucks.

According to Ablimit Mijit, a resident of mainly-Islamic Urumqi, the semi-clothed appearance of the goddess “was difficult for some Muslim ethnic groups to accept,” and its public prominence would likely exacerbate tensions between the city’s ethnic Han Chinese governing authorities and the restive native population. As well, a majority of netizens complained that “the sculpture was ugly and did not represent a traditional image of female beauty.” Then there’s Jiang Yuanqi, a 24-year-old from Zhejiang province who stated that “Nobody wants to spend their tax money on such a statue, so lacking in quality.” Here’s a newsflash, Yuanqui, nobody wants to spend their tax money on removing such statues either.

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