19.1.10

VIETNAM ENTREPRENEUR TO CREATE WORLD'S LARGEST CARVED JADE BUDDHA


ONE OF THE MOST FLAMBOYANT ENTREPRENEURS MAKING IT BIG IN BOOMING VIETNAM UNVEILED A MASSIVE PRECIOUS STONE ON MONDAY THAT HE PLANS TO TRANSFORM INTO THE WORLD'S LARGEST JADE BUDDHA. DAO TRONG CUONG, THE OWNER OF A VIETNAMESE GEM MINE, PURCHASED THE 35 TON STONE IN MYANMAR LAST YEAR FOR $2 MILLION AND IMPORTED IT TO VIETNAM IN OCTOBER. BY THE TIME A TEAM OF 50 ARTISTS AND SCULPTORS FINISHES CHIPPING AWAY AT IT, THE FINISHED BUDDHA IS EXPECTED TO WEIGH NEARLY 20 TONS. 'WE HOPE TO GET IT INTO THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS', CUONG TOLD A CROWD OF NEARLY 2,000 PEOPLE DURING A CEREMONY UNVEILING THE STONE, WHICH IS 10 FEET TALL, 6.5 FEET WIDE AND 6.5 FEET DEEP. CUONG COUNTS SOME OF VIETNAM'S MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL FIGURES AMONG HIS FRIENDS, INCLUDING PRESIDENT NGUYEN MINH TRIET, WHO SPOKE AT MONDAY'S CEREMONY AFTER ABOUT 250 MONKS IN SAFRON ROBES CHANTED AND RANG BELLS IN A BLESSING CEREMONY. TRIET PULLED BACK A CURTAIN COVERING THE MASSIVE HUNK OF JADE, WHICH HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY ADORNED WITH A PAINTING OF A TRANQUIL BUDDHA SITTING IN THE LOTUS POSITION. CUONG SAID IT WILL TAKE ABOUT TWO YEARS TO COMPLETE THE STATUE.

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