A mysterious Buddha statue has recently emerged from a lake in Fujian Province in China leaving local archaeologists baffled as to its origins.
The ancient relic, believed to be from the 14th century, was found in Nancheng County after the water in the Hongmen reservoir (Zuixian Lake) was significantly lowered.
Government-run Xinhua News Agency reported (via the Daily Mail) that a renovation of a hydropower gate late last year decreased the level of water in the lake for over 30 feet.
Local villagers reportedly discovered the ancient religious artifact when the head became partially exposed just above the lake’s surface.
The statue, which appears to bear the resemblance of the Gautama Buddha, was intricately carved on a cliff wall with carvings of an imperial decree.
Archaeologists have launched an underwater detection mission to study the discovery.
According to the Provincial Research Institute of Archaeology head Xu Changqing, the statue could have been carved between 1368-1644 during the Ming Dynasty.
The scientists later discovered carvings of rectangular holes on the cliff, indicating that a temple may have existed in the same location.
The Hongmen Reservoir, which was built in 1958 on the site of an ancient town called Xiaoshi, submerged 63 towns and villages upon its creation.