They say art is in the eye of the beholder — even when what the eye beholds is giant Buddha butt.
In Jinan, a restaurant owner thought he’d be clever and literal at the same time when he decided to install two giant naked Buddhas on the walls of his hot pot restaurant.
As you can see, one of the giant Buddhas dangles his booty over the street as he clambers atop the restaurant. His friend, also a giant naked Buddha, has already made it on top of the restaurant and waits there serenely, his hands clasped in prayer.
The installation references “fo tiao qiang,” an exotic Fujian dish that translates to, “Buddha Jumps Over the Wall." The high-end dish includes a slew of the most expensive ingredients in Chinese cooking, among them: abalone, sea cucumber, dried scallops and fish maw.
Netizens over the weekend started calling the installation by this nickname, which is no doubt what the restaurateur had in mind.
Last Sunday, a photo of the Buddhas made it to Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, and the rest was viral history. The state-run China News widely circulated the pictures, causing quite the social media stir.
As you may imagine, some Buddhist practitioners were not amused.
The South China Morning Post cited the microblog of Miaoming from the Beihai Zen Monastery in Qinghai province:
“I burst into tears when I saw naked Buddhas climbing over the wall! How come a nation with a thousand-year history has so little respect for its own culture?”
By Monday morning, the sculptures were gone. Local authorities apparently ordered them dismantled.
But like any mooning, the image stays with you long after the trousers have risen. Jinan residents may not have wanted to take the statues at butt value everyday, but they do appreciate the effort.
On a microblog they wrote: “[T]hanks to the sculptures, our conservative Jinan city finally made headlines!”