A Vietnamese jewelry firm has started work on the biggest Buddha statue to date from a 35-ton block of jade, the Vietnam News Agency said.
President Nguyen Minh Triet attended a ceremony to kick off the project on January 18, 2010, along with Vietnam Buddhist patriarch, Thich Pho Tue, and several hundred monks.
Triet said the giant statue would be built as a religious symbol and would be a contribution to culture that would last for generations. The statue -- which will be over nine feet high -- is expected to be completed in 2011.
Buddhism is the predominant religion in Vietnam, and in several other southeast Asian nations.