Western artists first produced some 20 3D models, "Digitally Sculpting". These completed designs were printed on a 3D printer, resulting in highly accurate small-scale models of the intended sculpture. The models were small enough "to fit in your hand".
That's exactly what was required by the next step: the models were handed over to expert Chinese stone sculptors, who used the models (presumably while holding them in their hands) to duplicate the design on a very large scale using actual stone.
Best quote: "It's better to make mistakes in electrons, than in granite," said artist Bruce Beasley.
3D prints may not be big, nor strong. But they can lead to things that are.