This giant seated representation of the Greek god Zeus was built by the sculptor Phidias around 435BC in the Temple of Zeus at the sanctuary of Olympia. It consisted of a wooden framework covered with ivory plates and gold panels, while the throne was decorated with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones. It was mentioned by the Roman historian Suetonius (apparently Caligula gave orders for it to be shipped to Rome so its head could be replaced with a sculpture of his own). The statue may have been destroyed when the Temple of Zeus was lost to fire in 425. Alternatively, it was taken to Constantinople (now Istanbul), where it burnt with the Palace of Lausus in 475. Phidias’s workshop was rediscovered at Olympia in the 1950s.
The modern alternative? The Golden Buddha in Bangkok, the world’s heaviest solid gold statue at 5.5 tons, is one option. Or how about the world’s tallest statue: the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China, at 128 metres tall?