- Arts and Design
5 Famous Granite Statues and Monuments
Granite is an igneous rock popular for construction due to it's hard and tough properties. Used first of all by the Ancient Egyptians, granite has a rich background in the construction of buildings, monuments and sculptures and is still used by many today, for granite worktops, monuments and headstones. Granite is extremely adaptable and, remains inherently popular today. It's main forms are quartz, mica and feldspar. For more information, please click here.
One of the most iconic monuments in the world, Mount Rushmore stands 60ft tall in the Keystone national park. Attracting 3 million people each year, the monument was devised by Doane Robinson in order to attract tourists to the region and has come to represent the USA right across the world. The monument depicts George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt and covers a whopping 1,278.45 acres. Construction on the monument began in 1927 after the project received federal funding, and the faces were finished between 1934 and 1939 however, the initial goal to carve the presidents from head to waist was dashed when funding was withdrawn from the project in October 1941.
Despite it's popularity, the monument wasn't without it's controversy, and was occupied by an American Indian movement in 1971, who went about re-naming it "Mount Crazy Horse".
The Colossal Red Granite Statue of Amenhotep III
Situated in the British Museum in London, this statue was discovered in the temple enclosure of Mut at Karnak in Egypt by Giovanni Battista Belzoni and Henry William Beechey in 1817. Dating from around 1370 BC, the statue was originally created to honour King Amenhotep III and was one of a number of statues erected to the king in Thebes. The statue is fragmentary, and only the arm and head are known to have survived. The statue is one of the major highlights of the British Museum and shows the remarkable skill of the Ancient Egyptians as well as the pomp and ostentation surrounding royalty of the age.
Located in Augusta, Georgia, the Signers Monument was built to recognise the 3 signers of the United States Declaration of Independence from the region. At a height of 50 feet, the granite obelisk was built in 1848 to mark the graves of George Walton, Lyman Hall, two of the three signers. Unfortunately, upon building the monument, Button Gwinnett's burial place could not be found.
According to news reports from the time, when the cornerstone was laid;
"...The Masons, Odd Fellows and Sons of
Temperance, with their respective regalia
and badges, attended by an excellent band
of music, formed an imposing procession. It
marched from the Masonic Hall down Broad-
Street to Centre-Street; thence to Green-
Street, and thence to the City Hall near which
the Monument is to stand."
Classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, this Indian port town is remarkable for its variety of architecture and carvings. Its historical monuments, many of which are carved from granite, are a huge attraction and sees it receiving thousands of visitors every year. The group of sanctuaries was created in the 7th and 8th centuries and is a stunning example of the early stages of Dravidian architecture in which elements such as warriors, kings and animals are carved directly into pyramid shaped temples.
Avukana Buddha statue
Standing at over 40ft, this impressive standing Buddha statue stands just outside of Kekirawa in North Central Sri Lanka. Carved out of the rock face in the 5th Century, the statue faces the Kekirawa reservoir and is often considered to be one of the finest examples of a standing Buddha statue from Ancient Sri Lanka. The statue represents both the Gandhara school of art and Amaravati school of art and shows the buddha wearing a tight fitted robe which clearly shows his figure. It is thought that the statue was built in the 5th Century under the orders of King Dhatusena. However, other theories do exist, such as the one that claims the statue was actually carved by an individual named Barana.
Today, many pilgrims flock to the statue from all over the country, and it has also become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.