Receding Water Levels of China’s Yangtze Reveal Ancient Buddha Statues

Receding Water Levels of China’s Yangtze Reveal Ancient Buddha Statues
A once submerged Buddha statue sits on top of Foyeliang island reef in the Yangtze river, which appeared after water levels fell due to a regional drought in Chongqing, China, on Aug. 20, 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

BEIJING—Plunging water levels of the Yangtze River have revealed a submerged island in China’s southwestern city of Chongqing and a trio of Buddha statues on it that are believed to be 600 years old, state media Xinhua has reported.

The three statues were found on the highest part of the island reef called Foyeliang, initially identified as built during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The Yangtze’s water levels have been falling rapidly due to a drought and a heat wave in China’s southwestern region.

Rainfall in the Yangtze basin has been around 45 percent lower than normal since July, and high temperatures are likely to persist for at least another week, official forecasts said.

As many as 66 rivers across 34 counties in Chongqing have dried up, state broadcaster CCTV said on Friday.

Weeks of baking drought across Europe have also revealed long-submerged treasures.

In Spain, archaeologists have been delighted by the emergence of a prehistoric stone circle dubbed the “Spanish Stonehenge.” Another of Europe’s mighty rivers, the Danube, has fallen to one of its lowest levels in almost a century, exposing the hulks of more than 20 German warships sunk during World War Two near Serbia’s river port town of Prahovo.