The 400 pound Buddha

October 28 2007

A few weeks ago, I posted a plea for help looking for someone with contacts or knowledge dealing with international cargo.  A month later, my first-ever experience has finally concluded.  The Buddha has arrived.

The Buddha arrives

Honestly, when my wife and I purchased this during our honeymoon, I really had no idea what I was getting into.  I knew that cargo shipments weren't exactly like dealing with FedEx, but with a big ol' lavarock statue, what else does one do?  We paid the cargo service company to pick up the Buddha from the stonecarver, do all the things they needed to do to ship it, and get it on its way to Chicago.  What I didn't know was how many middlemen would want their cut of the action, and how long that would all take.  In the end, a carving that cost less than US$200 at the outset has cost 3x more to arrive at my door.

Thus the double meaning of this post's title -- £400 is the end-cost for this thing...and it's still not inside the house where we wanted it.  Why not?  Well, the cargo manifest said that this sculpture weighs 150 pounds.  As my brother-in-law, my neighbor, and I discovered yesterday -- yeah, right.  It definitely ways a heck of a lot more, and I'm not entirely confident that the flooring will support it if we bring it inside.  That's if we could figure out how to bring it inside.

Maybe I should have gone with a somewhat smaller souvenir of my honeymoon instead.
(PS: At an Asian art store in Milwaukee today, I saw similar kinds of Asian sculpture costing US$1000 or more -- so maybe this isn't so unusual.  Moreover, at least we chose our own design, rather than what the importer for that kind of store would have chosen.  I think it all works out, but...)

Update: Since some of you have asked where the Buddha came from and similar details...this link will show you the stockyard where we bought it.  The very last picture (lower right) is where we found Buddha.  If I had only known that they would pack up the shipping containers for free if I bought three container-loads!

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