The “Son of the Earth”: A monumental tribute to life

The “Son of the Earth”: A monumental tribute to life

A giant sculpture of a baby measuring 15m in length in the middle of the Gobi Desert continues to attract thousands of visitors almost a decade after it was first made.

Within the vast expanse of the Gobi Desert, near the Chinese city of Jiuquan, lies an enormous sculpture of a sleeping baby. Professor Dong Shubing, of Tsinghua University in Beijing, created the “Son of The Earth” sculpture in 2016 from coarse red sandstone. It depicts a gigantic baby peacefully asleep on the ground.

The baby measures 15 metres in length, 4.3 metres in height, and 9 metres in width. According to Professor Dong Shubing, the reason for the giant baby was to protect the local living environment.

Professor Dong Shubing raised the funds needed for the design and construction of the sculpture himself. After the construction, it was donated at no cost to the local people and has since become a landmark on the desolate desert land.

According to China Today, the artwork received 375,000 tourists from January to May in 2023, with an average daily tourist reception of more than 2,500.

The ‘Son of the Earth’ giant baby sculpture can be listed alongside other “pro-life” pieces of art such as the giant sculptures of the development of the unborn baby revealed by English artist, Damien Hirst, a decade ago and which are still on display in Qatar’s capital Doha.

His 14 bronze sculptures tower up to 46 feet and show, in stunning anatomical detail, the development of an unborn baby boy from conception to birth. Hirst called the installation ‘The Miraculous Journey’.

Commissioned by Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority, Hirst’s sculptures are displayed boldly in front of the Sidra Medical and Research Center, a facility in Qatar specialising in women and children’s health.

The artworks can be seen from the desert and the motorway and weigh a total of 216 tonnes.

Artist Jing Yumin says the sculpture “…looks like a mountain in close proximity, a spot in distance. It can be looked up to as the peak of life, and also overlooked as the origin of the vast starry universe”.