Fleeting Wonders: Chinese Farmers Build Enormous, Golden Mao - Atlas Obscura
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Fleeting Wonders: Chinese Farmers Build Enormous, Golden Mao

Visitors dwarfed by the huge Mao.

Visitors dwarfed by the huge Mao. (Photo: HNR.cn)

A village in Tongxu county, China, recently completed a pretty overwhelming passion project: a 15-story golden statue of Communist leader Chairman Mao.

The giant Mao, which is made of concrete, steel, and gold paint, faces south. He sits calmly, hands folded in his lap. A van-sized spare head hangs out nearby, just in case, and a set of stairs allows access to his enormous shoes.

Though reports vary, the statue apparently cost the community anywhere from three million to three billion yuan, which translates to between $460,000 and $4.6 million in U.S. dollars. Most of this money was donated by local businessmen, though others kicked in. Construction began last March, and was completed on December 16th, Sina reports

A crane and some scaffolding, also looking pretty small next to the huge Mao.

A crane and some scaffolding, also looking pretty small next to the huge Mao. (Photo: HNR.cn)

So far, the giant Mao has garnered mixed reviews. While some Chinese commenters have called it a waste of money, criticized its poor resemblance (“very awkward posture”), or labeled it a bad reason to flatten farmland, others say only that it should be bigger (“higher than the height of the Himalayas!”) or closer to the center of the city. 

Meanwhile, locals report that tourists have been flocking to pose with the shiny dictator. It joins a panoply of such statues, including a $16.5 million jade-and-gold Mao figurine in Shaoshan and a well-coiffed Mao head in Hunan.

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