Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Really Large Creative Works

Stacy Conradt
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I don't really have an anecdotal explanation for today's Quick 10. It's pretty self explanatory"¦ it's really large creative works. In fact, the largest creative works of their kind. That's all I have for you! Plus, I'm conserving my energy today for all of the Hawkeye-bashing I'm required to do tomorrow. Without further ado"¦

1. The longest musical performance. It began on September 5, 2001, and won't end for another 639 years. It's called, appropriately, As Slow As Possible. This work by John Cage is so slow that the first note of it wasn't actually heard until February 5, 2003. That's when the first chord was played"¦ it lasted until July 5, 2005. The most recent note was played on January 5, 2006, and will last until July 5, 2012. The specific number of 639 years was chosen because the work is played on an organ, and it's estimated that 639 years is about how long an organ will last.

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2. If you've ever been to the Bellagio in Las Vegas, you've seen the largest glass sculpture "“ it's the Fiori di Como on the ceiling. It's 2,000 feet. It took more than 100 people to create, about 10,000 pounds of steel, and about 40,000 pounds of hand-blown glass. There are more than 2,000 pieces of individual glass.

3. The Yongle Dadian Encyclopedia is the world's largest encyclopedia. It was commissioned in 1403 by Chinese Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle. Texts of at least 8,000 ancient works were included. It was almost destroyed in 1557 when a fire ravaged the Forbidden City; after such a close call another copy was made. There were only three copies ever made, less than 400 volumes of those three copies still survive. No one knows what happened to the original, although many suspect it is hidden in the Yongling tombs.

4. The longest epic is the Epic of King Gesar.

According to legend, King Gesar ruled the Kingdom of Ling and the epic tells of his various battles and adventures. If all of the volumes were put together, it's estimated that it would be more than 120 volumes, more than 20 million words and more than a million verses.

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7. Speaking of poems, the longest poem (thus far) is the Mahābhārata. It's has more than 74,000 verses and about 1.8 million words. It talks about human goals and likely dates back about the eighth century, B.C.

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9. In June, a painting nearly 663 feet long was created in China. The coolest part? It was a paint-by-number, making it the largest paint-by-number ever. More than 400 artists helped create the painting, and kids from the Dandong Youth and Children Palace painted it. The scene depicted the picturesque view of Yalu River banks.

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