Its creator, landscape architect Charles Jenks, has been forced to deny it is offensive to women - claiming it will be an iconic celebration of the human form.
Crews using bulldozers and excavators have started work on the spectacular, 440-yard-long sculpture using 1.5m tonnes of soil and clay dug from an opencast mine near Cramlington.
Mr Jencks, who was commissioned to design the work, said he hopes it will become an icon for the region and form part of a 'destination art' route for UK tourists.
Nestling among man-made lakes at Blagdon Estate, it will be the centrepiece of a landform park expected to open to the public in 2013.
Responding to suggestions that the Northumberlandia figure is demeaning to women and could be offensive to some, Mr Jencks said he believes people will soon be won over by it.