Drought on China’s Yangtze River Exposes 600-Year-Old Buddhist Statues

It's no secret that the world is getting hotter. With climate change comes many negative consequences, including drought. Summer 2022 has been particularly dry for some regions. As waters of rivers and reservoirs recede, long obscured archeological and historical treasures are emerging. Among these are a trio of 600-year-old Buddhist statues previously submerged on an island reef in the Yangtze River known as Foyeliang, near the Chinese city of Chongqing.

The island reef was constructed sometime in the Ming and Qing dynasties. One of the three statues depicts a monk calmly meditating on a lotus petal. Lotuses are important Buddhist symbols. These water-growing plants represent the journey towards enlightenment or spiritual awakening.

These stunning statues had long been submerged underneath the magnificent, winding Yangtze River. However, since July, the Yangtze basin has seen 45% less rain than usual and, as a result, 66 rivers have dried up in Chongqing. The Yangtze's water level has fallen rapidly as the heat surged with temperatures reaching 104°F. China as a country is experiencing its worst drought on record. As high temperatures and low rain levels continue around the world, unseen sights such as sunken World War II ships and other surprises continue to emerge.

As China experiences a brutal drought, water levels on the Yangtze River have fallen to expose a trio of 600-year-old Buddhist statues.

Drought on China’s Yangtze River Exposes 600-Year-Old Buddhist Statues

The stunning Yangtze River in China. (Photo: Chen Hualin via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

h/t: [Reuters]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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