Located near to the new Cultural Center of Macau is a remarkable 20-meter high figure that rises from a man-made island reached by a 60-meter causeway. The Kun Iam Statue is a famous landmark in Macau dedicated to Kun Iam or the Goddess of Mercy. Kun Iam is the most popular of all Buddhist deities and is known to be the protector of children and the bringer of prosperity.
Geomancy was used to determine the most auspicious location to place the statue. The plan was to perfectly align it with the Kun Iam Temple and the Guia Hill. It weighs about 50 tons and is found right next to Macau’s spectacular waterfront. The statue has diverse casting, which allows it to withstand such strong winds in Macau. The beautiful monument combines both western and Chinese style and has long become one of Macau’s most recognized attractions. The statue comprises 47 castings, all polished in a wonderful bronze finish.
The statue stands atop a 7-meter high, marvelous white dome in the shape of a lotus flower with sixteen petals. Inside the dome is the Kun Iam Ecumenical Center for China’s three dominant philosophies: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Then President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal inaugurated the monument and center during his visit in 1999. Christina Rocha Leiria was the originator of the Kun Iam monument, and she is a noted Portuguese artist, architect and sculptress. Leiria’s work remains strongly interested in the relationship of man and his environment, an interest that is reflected in most of her work, including the Kun Iam monument. Some of her other works have been created for many children’s parks and green areas in an effort to humanize and soften urban life.
Long before the erection of the Kun Iam statue, Christiana planned the Kun Iam Intercultural Center as a place where activities with regard to culture, education and the arts can take place. The center also aims to constitute a place of convergence between diversified cultures. Through the differences and similarities of such cultures, the center can help stimulate more profound studies.
The center is composed of two levels. The primary level is the Polyvalent Room that houses the souvenir counter, which is most loved by visitors. The second level is the basement where a contemplation room and a small library are located for tourists on their sightseeing Macau tour. The contemplation room can fit about 50 people and is committed to activities such as conferences, films and exhibitions about the diverse cultures in Macau. Videos, holograms and other modern techniques are then used to explain such prominent philosophies. These activities make the statue and center a hotspot on a Macau sightseeing tour.
The center is open daily except on Fridays from 10 in the morning until 6 in the evening. No entrance fee is required. Make sure to include the Kun Iam Statue and the Kun Iam Ecumenical Center to your list of must-visits in Macau and get to be fascinated with such an intricate yet bold monument that is definitely a Macau landmark.