A 54 year old, farmer turned businessman in China, named Shi Jubin aims at carving out 10000 Buddha statues, from the dead jujube trees.
As of now, 9200 handcrafted statues are put on display in his company’s compound in Xinzheng City, east China.
According to the Chinese media, it is billed the world's largest group of Buddha statues. All of them represent smiling Buddha, and even have their own unique facial expressions.
If the statues are seen from the distance, they appear as one golden mass, but when observed closely, you can find out the difference in the facial expressions in each statue.
Since 15 years, Shubin has now emerged as the most successful businessman, selling Jujube products.
Shubin has started making Buddha statues in 2000, with an aim of completing 10000 statues. Currently, he is done with 9200 and yet to make another 800. All the statues are displayed in the Haoxiangni exhibition hall, named Wan Fo Yuan, or the “Ten Thousand Buddha Garden.”
All Buddha statues are unique in their shapes and sizes, and shades of golden brown and maroon.
The jujube tree wood would be extremely hardy and can flourish in extreme temperatures. That is the reason, its wood is being used for carving statues, for hundreds of years.
When Shubin was questioned on the issue, he said, “In my hometown and elsewhere in China, many jujube trees are cut down to make way for development and new roads, or dying of natural causes.”
“Some of them are hundreds of years old and date back to the Song and Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). I consider my business, jujube in a similar nature to Buddhas. Whenever I trade with the customers, I would think of Buddha and be benevolent, pious and spiritual,” Shubin said.
I want to give second life to jujube - Shubin
When Shubin was asked about his intention behind making Buddha statues out of Jujube trees, he said, “When they are alive, these jujube trees provide us with honey from its flowers and food with its fruit, the branches are used as firewood. They contribute all their life to us, I cannot to see their life ending, I want to give them an afterlife by making these Buddhas.”
On either side of the exhibition hall’s passage, the Buddhas are densely packed. Some appear waving and some laughing. Each has different sized heads and potbellied bodies.
The staff over there said that, few people feel dizzy, when they look at the thousands of Buddha's staring them back in the face.
According to the Chinese tradition, rubbing laughing Buddha statue’s belly, is believed to give good luck.
Needless to say, the jujube should be soaked and then crafted into a Budda. Each Buddha can take up to 2 years at a time to complete.
Shubin now, aims at crafting another 800 statues, to complete his target of making 10000 Buddha statues.
By Phani Ch