Saturday, September 4, 2010

Leshan Giant Buddha (Leshan Dafo)

The Leshan Giant Buddha (or Leshan Dafo) is a statue of Maitreya (a Bodhisattva usually represented as a very stout monk with a broad smile on his face and with his naked breast and paunch exposed to view) in sitting posture.
The Buddha is located to the east of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, at the confluence of three rivers, namely, Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. The statue makes itself the most renowned scenic spot in Leshan City. In December, 1996, the location of the Buddha was included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites. 

History of  Leshan Giant Buddha
Begun in the year 713 in the Tang Dynasty, and finished in the year 803, the statue took people more than 90 years to carve. During these years, thousands of workers had expended their efforts and wisdom on the project. As the biggest carved stone Buddha in the world, Leshan Giant Buddha is featured in poetry, song and story. Facing the river, the Buddha has symmetrical posture and looks which have been beautifully captured in its solemn stillness. It is 71 meters (about 233 feet) high, and has three-meter-long (about 11 feet) fingers. The eight-meter-long (about 27 feet) instep is big enough for one hundred people to sit on and the 28-meter-wide (about 92 feet) shoulder is large enough to be a basketball playground.
It was a monk called Hai Tong who initiated the project. His concern was for the safety of the long-suffering people who earned their living around the confluence of the three rivers. Tempestuous waters ensured that boat accidents were numerous and the simple people put the disaster down to the presence of a water spirit. So Hai Tong decided to carve a statue beside the river thinking that the Buddha would bring the water spirit under control. Besides, the fallen stones dropped during the carving would reduce the water force there. After 20 years' begging alms, he finally accumulated enough money for the plan. When some local government officials had designs on tempting this amount of money, Hai Tong said that they could get his eyeball but not the money raised for the Buddha. After Hai Tong dug out his eyeball, these officials ran away scared. The project was half done when Hai Tong passed away, and two of his disciples continued the work. After a total of 90 years' hard work, the project was finally completed.

Build of  Leshan Giant Buddha
The charm of the Buddha lies not only in its size but also in its architectural artistry. There are 1,021 buns in the Buddha's coiled hair. These have been skillfully embedded in the head. The skill is so wonderful that the 1,021 buns seem integral to the whole. Another architectural highlight is the drainage system. This system is made up of some hidden gutters and channels, scattered on the head and arms, behind the ears and in the clothes. This system, which helps displace rainwater and keep the inner part dry, plays an important part in the protection of the Buddha.
The large pair of ears, each seven meters (about 23 feet) long, is made of wood and is decorated by mud on the surface. For craftsmen of thousands of years ago, it was not easy to fix these to the stone head.
Having such a long history and such worldwide fame, the renovation of the Buddha has received extensive attention both at home and abroad. The Buddha was nearly destroyed by the erosion of wind and rain before 1963 when the Chinese government began the repairing work. At present, the maintenance work is in progress under the instruction of experts from UNESCO.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Statue of Christ, the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

The statue is the symbol of Christianity and an icon of Rio and Brazil.  In Portugese, it is known as Cristo Redentor. The statue stands 39.6 metres (130 feet) tall, weighs 700 tons.

The Statue of Christ is located at the peak of the 700-m (2296-foot) Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park.overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. ain Pináculo da Tentação (The Pinnacle [peak] of Temptation), alluding to the Biblical Mountain. 

The Statue of Christ the Redeemer history starts in the XVIth Century when the Portuguese named the mountain Pináculo da Tentação (The Pinnacle [peak] of Temptation), alluding to the Biblical Mountain.

A century passes and the mountain is re-baptized to Corcovado, a name derived from its form, which resembles a hump or hunchback. The next recordings of christ the redeemer history is in 1924 when Dom Pedro personally led the first official expedition to Corcovado Mountain, resulting in the opening of an accessable way up.
Then in 1859 the Vincentian father Pedro Maria Boss arrived Rio de Janeiro and was struck by the mystorious beauty of the corcovado mountain and suggested the the construction of a religous monument in honour of Princess Isabel, which in 1921 gave way for the idea of a great statue of christ viewable by all in the marvelous city of Rio. From 1859 to 1921, Dom Pedro gave his consent for the building of the Corcovado Railroad line between Cosme Velho and Paineiras, which would be an essential part of undertaking the Redentor
In 1922, on the markation of Brazilian independence and a milepeal in the Statue of Christ the Redeemer history, the work began for fullfilling the ambisious project with the fundamental stone beeing put inplace on the 22.april.

After a hard competition, the project by the engineer Heitor da Silva Costa is chosen and in September, a national fundraising campaign for the works is organized. 
Finally, in 1927, the construction of the statue begins after models of diverse sizes had been constructed. All calculations were done by Coast Hisses, helped by Pedro Viana and Heitor Levy, which during the years of construction, resided in a shed of wood at the foot of the monument.  

All the necessary work material and workers who participated in the construction of the Christ statue were transported to Corcovado by the trains from the railroad that links the street Cosme Velha, which today functions as a tourist train to the top. The train was the first in Brasil appointed exclusively to transportation of tourists and also the first train to work by electricity.

1931 – Is the famous year in the Statue of Christ the Redeemer history, where the monument is inaugurated on the 12 October. The final design of the monument was authored by the fine artist Carlos Oswald and the French Sculptor Paul Landowski was placed in charge of executing the sculpture. The monument to Christ, the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain becomes the largest art déco sculpture in the world. Up till today, several reforms have been completed to ensure the quality of O Christo Redentor. Lighting has been added, and the latest renewal of September 2002 is the addition of a panoramic elevator and motorized staircase to ease the difficulty for elderly persons. ( It used to be a hard rise of 220 steps to get to the top )

All the equipment, bought from the Elevators Otis, will be painted in green. They are manufactured in the France and they produce little noise. The elevators are “politically correct”, by the fact that they will not use oils lubricants in the system.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Secret of Mummies

The word mummy derived from early spectators who presumed that mummies were covered with bitumen, which meant in Persian moumia and therefore took the modern name mummy. Whether it’s been preserved naturally or deliberately, all mummies must survive the duration of time. Gaining most of its fame from Egypt, mummies also exist in many other ancient cultures and countries. Countries such as China revealed the Cherchen mummies, which were preserved almost perfectly. Another place, such as South America, revealed three children from the Incas who were relics of a sacrificial ritual and were found frozen atop Argentina’s Mount Llullaillaco, which is about 22,000 feet high.  Although mummification existed in other cultures, eternal life was the main focus of all Ancient Egyptians, which meant preserving the body forever.

Mummification- How mummies were made
The first attempt to preserve the dead is recorded as early as 3000 BC. After the death of an Egyptian, the embalmers where called by family members and the body was taken to the ibu, “the tent of purification.” the body would go through a process that lasted seventy days, no longer. Once brought to the ibu, the carcass was cleaned with water containing the purifying agent natron. This process represented the rebirth of the deceased.

After being washed and cleansed, the carcass was taken to the wabet, the “palace of embalming.”According to Herodotus, a large incision was made on the left side of the abdomen. This incision, which was cut with a flint knife, was used for removing vital organs such as the intestines, liver, lungs and stomach.  

After the body had been cleansed and the organs removed, the body is dried. For this large amounts of natron salt packed around the body until the 70th day, when the body was desiccated. After being dried in the bed of natron salt, the body is then washed and all traces of the salt removed.
The cadaver is then taken to per nefer, “the house of beauty,” where it is stuffed and shaped back to its normal size. Many perfumes and oils were rubbed on the body and the open wounds were filled and covered with wax. Over the wax a metal plate decorated with symbols of protection sealed the wounds. After the anointing was completed, molten resin was added to cover the body. Both men and women would be colored with ochre. The men would be colored red and the women yellow. 
Colored and stuffed, it’s was then ready to be wrapped. The wrapping process lasted fifteen to thirteen days. Special fine cloth with spells written upon them were used. Most of the time, sheets of linen were used as the main wrapping material. This process was done until the body was protected from head to foot in linen. After being covered, the body was covered with a death mask made of papyrus or linen and reinforced with plaster. Royal mummies, such as Tutankhamun’s, were made of gold and held precious and semiprecious stones that were inlaid. The mummy was then packaged and ready for the afterlife and was placed into its coffins and laid to rest in its tomb. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Petronas Tower

The Petronas Twin Towers (also known as the Petronas Towers or just Twin Towers), in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were the world's tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004, when their height was surpassed by Taipei 101. The towers remain the tallest twin buildings in the world.

Height: 1,483 ft (452 meters)
Owners: Kuala Lumpur City Centre Holdings Sendirian Berhad
Architects: Cesar Pelli & Associates
Engineers: Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers
Contractors: Mayjus and SKJ Joint Ventures
Topping Out: 1998

Official Opening: August 28, 1999 

History of Construction:

 Petronas, Malaysia's national oil company, set out to build the world's tallest building. Although other buildings such as the Sears Tower have higher occupied floors, a higher pinnacle, and a higher roof, the Petronas Towers' spires are classified as architectural details and rise to 452 m (1483 feet)--the highest feature classified as an architectural detail on a high rise until Taipei 101.
The towers were designed by architect César Pelli, were completed in 1998. The 88-floor towers constructed of largely reinforced concrete with a steel and glass facade were designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia's Muslim heritage. They were built on the site of Kuala Lumpur's race track. Because of the depth of the bedrock the buildings were built on the world's deepest foundation going down some 120 meters and requiring massive amounts of concrete. In an unusual move, a different construction company was hired for each of the towers, and they were made to compete against each other. 

Eventually the builders of Tower 2, Samsung, won the race, despite starting a month behind Tower 1, built by Hazama Corporation, although Tower 2 ran into problems when they discovered the structure was 25 millimeters off from vertical. Due to a lack of steel and the huge cost of importing steel, the towers were constructed on a cheaper radical design of super high strength reinforced concrete. High-strength concrete is a material familiar to Asian contractors and twice as effective as steel in sway reduction. Supported by 23-by-23-metre concrete cores and an outer ring of widely-spaced super columns, the towers showcase a sophisticated structural system that accommodates its slender profile and provides from 1300 to 2000 square metres of column-free office space per floor.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cannibalism - Eating of Human by Another Human

Cannibalism  a West Indies tribe well known for their practice of cannibalism), also called anthropophagy, is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings.Cannibalism has recently been both practiced and fiercely condemned in several wars, especially in Liberia and Congo. Today, the Korowai are one of very few tribes still believed to eat human flesh. It is also still known to be practiced as a ritual and in war in various Melanesian tribes.

Reasons for cannibalism

The reasons for cannibalism include the following:
  • As sanctioned by a cultural norm
  • By necessity in extreme situations of famine
  • Caused by insanity or social deviancy
There are fundamentally two kinds of cannibalistic social behavior; endocannibalism (eating humans from the same community) and exocannibalism (eating humans from other communities).
A separate ethical distinction can be made to delineate between the practice of killing a human for food (homicidal cannibalism) versus eating the flesh of a person who was already dead (necro-cannibalism).

There are many forms of spiritual and ritualistic cannibalism worldwide. 
Exocannibalism is defined as a culture, group or tribe's consumption of another culture, group or tribe. This form of cannibalism has been associated with tribal power, murder and aggression and has been used in an effort to scare off possible invading enemies, to get rid of captured enemies of war and slaves. Many cannibalistic tribes believed that consuming one's enemy would allow them to obtain and absorb the spirit and skills of the victim. 

Conversely, the consumption of members within one's own culture, group or tribe is called Endocannibalism, which is often associated with ritual burial ceremonies and has been controversially referred to on occasion as "compassionate cannibalism." Mortuary cannibalism has been considered to be the most widely practiced form of endocannibalism, often excluding murder and focusing on already deceased corpses.

The ancient Aztecs in Mexico were believed to have sacrificed and cannibalized thousands of humans on an annual basis. The Aztecs were believed to have practiced exocannibalism, as well as endocannibalism and survival cannibalism. Human sacrifice and cannibalism was practiced in an effort to create a universal balance between of the world and the cosmos.

Other cultures participated in endo- and exo-cannibalism for similar reasons, such as The North American Indians, known as the Iroquoian. They believed that sacrificing and consuming the bodies of their enemies would satisfy their war god and lead to their spirit being transferred and absorbed into their own bodies. The absorbed spirit was believed to empower the cannibal with the attributes of the dead person. Moira Martingale, author of Cannibal Killers, claims that this form of ritualistic cannibalism was practice by the Iroquoian culture as recently as 1838.
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