We’re sad to report that the monumental sculpture “Three Heads Six Arms Buddha” by Zhang Huan in Civic Center Plaza, which was installed in May last year, was behind dismantled yesterday ahead of schedule for shipment back to the artist in Shanghai. The Civic Center blog, of course, was there and snapped a few shots of the disassembled sculpture (such as the one on the right).

In case you didn’t know, the sculpture weighs almost 15 tons, with each appendage weighing about a ton. It was installed on the plaza to celebrate the 30th anniversary of San Francisco’s sister-city relationship with Shanghai. In exchange, Shanghai was given a sculpture made by San Francisco native Chase Chen on behalf of the city which, unlike “Three Heads, Six Arms,” will remain in China indefinitely. Three Heads Six Arms is part of a series of monumental works depicting the fragmented extremities of Buddhist statues. The series was inspired by artist Zhang Huan’s discovery of religious sculptures that had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution for sale in a Tibetan market.

Here’s another picture of the dismantling yesterday by Steve Rhodes, from The Tender’s Flickr pool.

Update 4pm: The dismantling operation is supposed to last until tomorrow, but you can see some shots by Steve Rhodes taken this afternoon that show that the work is always done. Sob.

This sculpture was definitely a favorite spot to photograph by locals and tourists alike, so we’ve picked a few of our favorite shots of it from our Flickr pool:

Three Heads Six Arms by Julie Michelle

Six heads three arms by Brandon Doran

Buddha burn by Teddy b

Three heads six arms Buddha by Gustavo Salazar