Carving on a small or medium sized block of wood, stone or rock is difficult enough. Despite that, some sculptors take their skill to great heights – literally.
Sculptures made out of mountains are among the greatest testaments to the power of the human hands and the mind. Some of them are thousands of years old, foreshadowing the possible life span of those that are relatively new. Like we humans say, “as old as the hills.” If an artwork is made out of a mountain, then who could ever take it down?
11. Mount Rushmore Memorial
That’s how to honour national heroes. Mount Rushmore, a national memorial in South Dakota, features past US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
This project which took 14 years (1927 – 1941) to complete, was designed by American sculptor John Gutzon Borglum, who supervised the work with his son, Lincoln Borglum.
The four were chosen for their achievements. George Washington is the father of the USA, Thomas Jefferson is the pioneer of democracy and the people’s right to choose their government, Theodore Roosevelt is there for development and Abraham Lincoln will always be remembered for abolishing slavery.
22. Confederate Memorial Carving
The Confederate Memorial Carving on Stone Mountain in the USA, is the largest sculpture work on a mountain in the world. The carving measures about 190 feet by 90 feet – longer than a football field. It also honours some three American figures from the nation’s history, particularly the American Civil War: Jefferson Davis, Robert Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
However, this sculpture is controversial because the three were part of the Confederate States of America – an unrecognized ‘country’ of secessionists who broke away from the USA after Abraham Lincoln was elected president. While Lincoln wanted to end slavery, these states were against abolishing the slave trade because they were heavily reliant on slave labour.
It’s also not helpful for Stone Mountain that it has been a meeting site of the Klu Klux Klan.
33. Crazy Horse
Again, that is how to honour a hero. The Crazy Horse monument at South Dakota in the USA, is not very far from Mount Rushmore. It was started by Korczak Ziółkowski, a Polish-American sculptor who took part in the work on Mount Rushmore. The huge sculpture of a Red Indian leader called Crazy Horse (native Americans have such names), is still not finished although work began in 1948. The monument was started after a Red Indian chief called Standing Bear, asked Ziółkowski to consider a monument for the native Americans too, since the red Indians also have their own heroes.
Crazy Horse, the man on the horse, was a native American Indian war leader of the Lakota people who resisted the United States and their capture of Red Indian lands, helping to preserver the Lakota people’s traditional way of life. Crazy Horse was a valiant leader feared and respected both by his people and the white American settlers. He was instrumental in the Fetterman Massacre of December 1866, a battle in which allied groups of red Indians defeated and killed about 81 soldiers of the United States army.
The monument will be 563 feet high when complete. The height of his head alone, which has been done, is about 90 feet.
44. Pharaoh Rameses II
This 3,000 year-old UNESCO world heritage site in Egypt has really seen many years. It is of Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II and Queen Nefertari. This sculpture marks the entrance to some mysterious temples at Abu Simbel, near the Nile River.
55. Pregnant Mountain Sculpture
Carved into the hillside just beside a road near the town of Santo Domingo in Colombia, this one’s been named pregnant mountain. It was made by a young artist called Dubian Monsalve, just some time around 2012. The sculpture is a tribute to the woman and to life. The baby also represents the artist’s Christian belief that life has value, even right from the time of conception.