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'Buddha' Shaped Pears

Outline
Circulating message claims that a Chinese farmer has managed to grow pears shaped like baby Buddha figures. The message includes a photograph of the unusually shaped pears still on the tree.



Brief Analysis
The photograph is genuine and the pears are real. News reports from 2009 indicate that Chinese farmer Gao Xianzhang uses special moulds to force his pears to grow into their unique baby shapes.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: July 23, 2012
First published: July 23, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example

Baby Buddha Shapped Pears

BUDDHA-SHAPED PEARS

CHINESE FARMER GROWS BUDDHA-SHAPED PEARS
Gao Xianzhang has managed to create what some would call the holiest fruits ever, pears shaped like Buddha.
Gao has been working on his pear-growing technique for six years and this season he managed to grow 10,000 Buddha-shaped baby pears.
Each fruit is grown in an intricate Buddha mould and ends up looking like a juicy figurine. The ingenious farmer says the locals in his home village of Hexia, norther China, have been buying his Buddha pears as soon as he picks them from the trees. Most of them think they are cute and that they bring good luck. ♥




Detailed Analysis
This message, which circulates via social media posts and email, features a photograph depicting pears shaped like babies or small Buddha figures. According to the text of the message, the pears are grown by a Chinese farmer using a special technique that he perfected over several years. Some commentators have suggested that the photograph has been digitally manipulated to make normal pears appear to be baby or Buddha shaped. However, the image is in fact genuine and the claims in the message are factual, although not particularly recent. News reports about the pears and their grower were first published back in 2009. A September 2009 Reuters report about the pears explains:

Farmer Hao Xianzhang, who owns an orchard in northern Hebei province, is turning fiction into fact by attaching baby-shaped fiberglass and plastic moulds to young pears for six months.

"People called me crazy. They said I was whimsical and it was impossible to grow baby-shaped fruits. They told me to stop wasting my time and money," said Hao, who has sold nearly all the 18,000 pears he has cultivated for a hefty 50 yuan ($7) a piece.

The idea to shape pears first struck Hao some six years ago, when he saw jelly molded into different forms at a supermarket.

And another September 2009 report in the UK's Daily Mail notes:

A Chinese farmer has invented baby-shaped pears - and he is planning to export his novel idea over here.
Plucky farmer Gao Xianzhang has created 10,000 of the mini marvels this season and he plans to take the fruits of his labour to the UK and Europe.
Britain could soon see the arrival of the pears, which are shaped like mini buddhas.

*******

Gao spent six years perfecting the intricate baby-shaped pears, carefully crafting each one which grows inside an individual mould.

According to reports, the farmer has received interest from around the world for his uniquely shaped fruit.

Baby Buddha Pears
Gao Xianzhang with his unusual pears

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References
Pear-shaped business plan reaps fruit of success
Enlightened Chinese farmer branches out by growing pears shaped like baby Buddha





Last updated: July 23, 2012
First published: July 23, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer