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Construction beginning back in 2013, the statue is made of brass and reinforced steel with a base spanning 7,800 square metres. Standing majestically on a hillside overlooking the city of Qufu, its giant stature befits one of China’s most famous philosophers whose teachings have been influential throughout the world.
A striking 72-metres (236 feet) tall, its height coincides with the number of sages among Confucius’ disciples. It’s hoped that the statue will attract worldwide attention and help to promote traditional Chinese culture.
The statue was unveiled to the public during the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, which is China’s harvest festival ritual. Although it’s the largest statue of Confucius in the world, it ranks 16th on the list of the world’s tallest statues. The current tallest statue in the world is the Spring Temple Buddha in central China’s Henan province, which stands at 128 metres.
Confucius (551-479 BC) is arguably China’s most famous and influential philosopher. He founded Confucianism, a school of thought that stressed the importance of ethical behaviour in relation to both family and state, moral harmony, and the Golden Rule, “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
Confucius believed that it was the job of rulers to model and spread ethical behaviour, and that good leaders should rule by virtue and moral example, rather than by punishment or force. Ancestor worship and venerating elders, which are old traditional Chinese values, are also key components of Confucian doctrine.
After his death, Confucius’ philosophy became extremely influential in China, especially during the Han, Tang and Song dynasties. His teachings and philosophy are still a major influence on Chinese culture today and are currently enjoying a resurgence. A collection of Confucius’ aphorisms and anecdotes is preserved in the book The Analects; which although compiled by his disciples, is accepted as the most reliable source of Confucius’ views.