Three Heads Six Arms – One Message

You can hear the loud echo of a hollow drum as the tour bus makes a pit stop in front of San Francisco City Hall. Someone else has knocked on a massive statue with three heads and six arms to find out what it’s made of – copper. The sculpture appeared almost overnight and passers-by can’t get enough. Everyone wants to pose in front of the big Buddha. It’s hard to make out all it’s dimensions, but there’s enough hidden symbolism to marvel over the masterpiece at different angles for hours on end. Three Heads Six Arms is the work of Chinese artist Zhang Huan who flew in all the way from Shanghai for the unveiling in May. The display is in celebration of San Francisco’s 30-year sister-city relationship with Shanghai. This piece of art depicts the arms, legs, feet, hands and heads of Buddhist deities; and it’s really a symbol of world peace. The artist was reportedly inspired after seeing remnants of religious sculptures for sale in a Tibetan market – beautiful works of art destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Three Heads Six Arms is will be on display through 2011 in the Joseph L. Alioto Performing Arts Plazza.

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