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"Naked Buddha" stripped down in East China

JINAN, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- A pair of giant naked sculptures which appeared on the side of a building in east China's Shandong Province have been removed following a furious online spat.

The dimply duo attracted attention after they were installed on Sunday on the wall of a hotpot restaurant in the provincial capital of Jinan.

The giant figures -- one climbing the wall while another looks on -- provoked fierce bickering online as to whether they are "offensive" or not, after photos of them were posted on Monday.

Netizens have mocked the idea of the figures being inspired by a famous Chinese soup called "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall" containing sea cucumber, dried scallops and shark fin. The name of the dish is an allusion to the notion that it is so tasty as to entice monks to come running from their temples to partake of the non-vegetarian delight.

According to the shame-faced restaurant manager, who chose to remain anonymous, netizens have mistaken two naughty children for naked Buddhas.

The sculptures were taken down on Monday evening.

The manager refused to reveal the reasons behind the display, saying that he was only in charge of running the business, but that the figures were part of a marketing idea.

The local government said it was not involved in the matter. The sculptures were simply commercial activity, according to officers from the subdistrict administration office and the city's urban management bureau.

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