Giant turtle sculpture unveiled as landmark in Hebei

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 A 501-ton dark jade sculpture of a mythical turtle, which is 3.7 meters tall, 5.7 meters wide and 9 meters long, is inaugurated in Caofeidian, North China's Hebei province on May 3. (Photo: China News Service/Li Lianjun)

A 501-ton dark jade sculpture of a mythical turtle was unveiled to the public on Sunday in Caofeidian, Hebei province.

The 23-million-yuan ($3.7 million ) sculpture is 3.7 meters tall, 5.7 meters wide and 9 meters long, and occupies an area of more than 13 hectares. The public can view the sculpture free of charge as part of an ongoing culture and art week that will last until May 11.

According to Zhu Yongyuan, an expert in folklore studies of Hebei, the myth regarding the turtle is as follows: An ancestor found a turtle in his net while fishing one day and mercifully returned it back to the sea. A thousand years later, a black dragon emerged from Bohai Sea, wreaking havoc on the people, and the turtle came to their rescue. It bravely fought the dragon and became very tired. In the end, it turned into a giant mountain to support the people, protecting them from drowning.

The giant turtle would likely become a new tourism and culture landmark for North China, said an official at the unveiling ceremony on Sunday.

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