The Yangtze, Asia’s largest river and a crucial part of China’s economy, has seen its water levels fall rapidly amid a drought and record-breaking heat wave.
This has revealed three ancient Buddhist statues atop a normally submerged island in the Chongqing area in the country’s southwest.
The relics feature three monk-like figures sitting and watching over the river that are believed to be about 600 years old and built during the Ming dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.
“There are thousands of these kinds of images across China in the time of Ming, but within the river reef, this case is very rare,” Kim Minku, an art historian from the Chinese University of Hong Kong told NBC News.
The island reef is known as Foyeliang, or Buddha’s father island, said Minku.