Beijing, China (CNN)A 600-year-old Buddha statue has been discovered in a reservoir in east China’s Jiangxi Province after water levels fell during renovation work.
A local villager first spotted the head of the Buddha last month when the water level fell by more than 10 meters during work on a hydropower gate, official state news agency Xinhua reported.
The Buddha’s head sits against a cliff and gazes serenely over the body of water. It has attracted many tourists as well as locals, who see it as an auspicious sign.
Archaeologists said the statue could date back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
“A preliminary study of the statue suggests it was probably built during early Ming Dynasty, maybe even earlier as the Yuan Dynasty,” Xu Changqing, director of the Research Institute of Archaeology of Jiangxi province, told CNN in a phone interview.
The statue is potentially just the tip of an untapped archeological treasure trove. A base of a temple hall was also found under the water. Local records suggest the reservoir was located on the ruins of an ancient town called Xiaoshi.
Xu said an underwater archeology team is investigating both the ancient town and the statue and working on a preservation plan.