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Explainer on the World of Colossal Statues

Christ the Redeemer
Most colossal statues serve as prominent projections that signify the strong influence of a religion, such as the statues of Buddha, Christ and figures of other religious nominations.
Others commemorate a major milestone of a nation or pay tribute to a great leader or famous person, such as the Statue of Unity which depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a highly respected statesman and independence activist of India.

When were these statues built?

At least 80 colossal statues (at least 30 meters in height) have been built in locations around the world since the year 2000, much more than all colossal statues built in the 1990s or earlier. 66 (or 75%) of these colossal statues, that are completed in year 2000 or later, are located in Asia, with China and India accounting for 70% of these modern statues in Asia.

Where are these statues located?

Asia is home to about 107 colossal statues, a number that easily dwarfs all the statues in the rest of the world combined.
The country with the highest number of colossal statues is China at 32 statues, followed by India at close second with 24 and finally, Japan at 20 statues.

Measuring the heights of statues

The diagram below illustrates the different height measurements associated with a statue. The height of pedestal base upon which the statue is situated is referred to as the pedestal height while the height of the actual depiction is referred to as the statue height.
Together, the pedestal height and the statue height makes up the monument height. Take note that the measurements captured in this dataset are statue heights, not monument heights.

The tallest statues in the world

The tallest three statues in the world are Statue of Unity from India (182 meters), the Spring Temple Buddha of China (128 meters) and Laykyun Setkyar of Myanmar at 115.8 meters.
How Larsen & Toubro built the Statue of Unity
In fact, the world's top ten tallest colossal statues are almost located entirely in Asia, with sole exception being Rodina-Mat' Zovyot! (The Motherland Calls) of Russia which stands at 85 meters and is the 9th tallest in the world.
The tallest statue that was built before the year 1000 was the Leshan Giant Buddha. Built in 808, the Leshan Giant Buddha is 71 meters tall. It took almost three generations (over a 90-year period) of stone craftsmen to complete the world's largest stone Buddha statue, a sculpting masterpiece that stood the test of time in the past 1300 years.
The magnificent Leshan Giant Buddha| CCTV English
In North America, the tallest statue is the Birth of the New World (Columbus' Statue) of Puerto Rico, USA, which stands at a height of 110 meters. Over at South America, Santa Rita De Cássia of Brazil (50 meters) takes the crown. In Africa, the African Renaissance Monument of Senegal is the tallest statue, standing at 49 meters.
Estátua de Santa Rita de Cássia

How much and how long will it take to build a colossal statue?

Certainly, time and costs will vary, depending on the location where the statue is built, type of materials to be used, size and volume of the statue, cost of labor, construction schedule and other myriad factors.
In the case of the Statue of Liberty, which was first completed in 1886, it took about eight years to build the copper statue and cost around US$800,000 in that time (or about US$70-80 million in present day value).
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, took nine years to build (1922 - 1931) and the stone statue cost around US$250,000 (or around US$4 million today).
A more recent development is the 182-meter tall Statue of Unity in Gujarat, India. Built of concrete, steel and bronze, the construction took around 5 years (2013-2018) at a total cost of US$422 million dollars.
Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


We hope this explainer article on statues has provided some interesting insights to the world of colossal statues. You may be interested to check out these community resources further: