In 1957, to make room for the Port of Bangkok, a small temple and its brown clay Buddha were being relocated. Being made of stucco it was thought to be worth very little. As the crane hoisted the 16 foot statue, to the horror of the monks watching, the straps did not hold and the rain soaked statue slipped into the mud below and started to crack.
Concerned about further damage, they agreed to wait until morning to decide what to do next.
That evening a temple monk awoke from sleep, inspired to visit the Buddha image. When he gazed at the statue through lamp light, he saw a strange glint. He carefully started to chip away some of the brown stucco. And to his astonishment, he found gold under the plaster. After hours of work, he discovered that the statue was made entirely of pure gold.
Upon inspection they realized that the “clay” Buddha was over 700 years old and made of solid gold. It had been disguised under a layer of clay to camouflage it from Burmese invaders. The clay did it’s job and the statue was overlooked. And when those who had hidden and protected it were all killed, its secret identity died with them.
Two hundred years later an accident revealed it true identity. Its turned out to be the largest golden Buddha image in the world and is a most valued treasure of Thailand and of Buddhism.