8. Giant Buddha And Temple
In 2016, a renovation project began at the Hongmen dam in Nancheng County. The first step was to lower the water level. By the time it was down by 10 meters, villagers noticed the unmistakable face of a Buddha emerging. Closer investigation revealed it had been carved from the cliff face, and the head was only the visible tip of a complete statue that stood 3.8 meters high.
The Buddha’s carving style places it in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) or earlier. Also found were inscriptions and the floor of a large room covering 165 square meters. Considering the sacred figure nearby, the floor was likely all that remained of a temple, and local historic records soon confirmed the theory.
There was once an ancient town, Xiaoshi, which was the trading hub between the provinces of Jiangxi and Fujian. The local temple stood at the intersection of two rivers, meant to safeguard sailors from dangerous currents. The statue and Xiaoshi’s ruins became submerged and forgotten when the reservoir was constructed around them and flooded.