Indian icons, Chinese bronzes

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 09, 2018

Pros Chinese firms are renowned for their design and manufacture of giant statues in their huge foundries, especially of bronze   -  REUTERS

Giant foundries of the Middle Kingdom are busy pouring statues for various Indian States

India-China political and business relations may be touching a low, but cooperation is hitting new heights on building statues of India’s icons.

Be it Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project — 597-foot, world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat — or the 216-foot-tall saint Ramanuja Statue to come up on on the outskirts of Hyderabad, there is significant involvement of Chinese companies in moulding them.

Chinese expertise

Chinese firms are renowned for the design and manufacture of giant statues in their huge foundries, especially out of bronze. According to estimates, China has over a thousand gigantic statues of the Buddha, the tallest one rising over 500 feet.

The ₹2,989-crore Sardar Patel statue is being constructed by L&T. The Chinese firm TQ Art Foundry, a subsidiary of Jiangxi Toqine company, Nanchang, has been contracted to supply the bronze cladding, a comparatively small percentage of the overall structure. The work, which began in October, 2014, is expected to be completed in 56 months. It is to be installed on a river island called Sadhu Bet, facing the Narmada Dam near Vadodara.

A 210-metre, ₹3,600-crore Shivaji statue to come up off Marine Drive in Mumbai is at the bidding stage.

Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone for the the project, which will be taller than the Statue of Liberty off New York and the upcoming Statue of Unity in Gujarat.

Ramanuja statue

The Ramanuja statue will be a ‘Made in China’ structure and will be shipped to Hyderabad in hundreds of pieces and reassembled by workers, including Chinese experts, in Shamshabad.

The Ramanuja Trust headed by J Rameshwara Rao, an industrialist, is planning to unveil the statue of the Vaishnava Saint by the end of 2017, coinciding with the saint’s millennial birth anniversary.

Work on the estimated ₹300-crore project is going on at a brisk pace and is on schedule. The two Telugu States, which competitively announced 125-foot statues of BR Ambedkar on the occasion of his 125th anniversary in 2015, are also looking East.

Ambedkar statues

The Telangana government plans to install two or three tall statues. It sent a team led by Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari to China to explore options.

In addition to the Ambedkar statue in Hyderabad, it wants to install a 108-foot Hanuman idol at the entrance of Yadadri Narasimhaswamy Temple, a pet project of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao. Talks with Chinese companies are at an advanced stage.

The Andhra Pradesh government is exploring options to build the 125-foot Ambedkar statue in the capital city Amaravati.

Published on August 23, 2017

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