Monday, 18 May 2015

Restoration on 800 year old Buddhist statue from the Tang/ Song Dynasty




CCTV.com  7 May 2015
The restoration of a famous ancient Buddhist stone-carving statue in Chongqing has come to an end. The project lasted eight years and costs 50 million yuan. 

The Qianshou Guanyin, or the Thousand-Hands Buddha, is located at Baoding Mountain in Chongqing. The statue was first carved in the early Tang Dynasty and during the Song Dynasty, more than 800 years ago. 

Over the centuries, the sculpture's color has faded, some of the gold foil covering it has peeled off, and cracks have appeared. The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake caused more damage.

Experts say such a large-scale restoration is unprecedented in China.

Restoration on 800-year Buddhist statue complete
The restoration of a famous ancient Buddhist stone-carving statue in Chongqing has come to an end. The project lasted eight years and costs fifty million yuan.
"We spent more than three years on research and project planning. We found solutions and put them into the restoration in the latter four years. This is unprecedented in China and even abroad," expert Zhan Changfa said.

Specialists say that the statue had 830 hands, with one eye carved in each palm, but there were only 403 left. The restoration staff used high-tech, such as X-ray and 3D print to restore it.

"Many fingers are severely damaged, some are broken. We have to use an X-ray machine and other high-tech equipment to fix them. We have to not only maintain its original shape and color, but also reproduce the missing parts," said expert Huang Kezhong.

The restored statue is expected to open to the public June 13, the Chinese Cultural Heritage Day.
The restoration of a famous ancient Buddhist stone-carving statue in Chongqing has come to an end. The project lasted eight years and costs fifty million yuan. The restoration of a famous ancient Buddhist stone-carving statue in Chongqing has come to an end. The project lasted eight years and costs fifty million yuan.
The restoration of a famous ancient Buddhist stone-carving statue in Chongqing has come to an end. The project lasted eight years and costs fifty million yuan. The restoration of a famous ancient Buddhist stone-carving statue in Chongqing has come to an end. The project lasted eight years and costs fifty million yuan.


From: Daily mail online  7 May 2015

Spectacular 800-year-old Buddhist statue of goddess with a thousand hands restored to former glory after eight-year conservation project

  • Guanyin statue carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279)
  • Known as the 'Goddess of Mercy', the sculpture has more than 1,000 arms 
  • After eight-year restoration project, it will be on public display from June 13
  • Project to repair statue, which started in 2008, cost tens of millions of yuan 
A Buddhist statue that is more than eight hundred years old has been restored to its former glory and will soon be on public display in China after an eight-year conservation project. 
Cultural experts gathered in Dazu, near Chongqing, to see the unveiling of the UNESCO-listed Guanyin statue in Baoding Mountain yesterday, the People's Daily Online reported.
The Dazu Thousand-hand Bodhisattva was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279). 
The Category 1 National Relic - of a deity known as the 'Goddess of Mercy' - has 1,007 arms and an eye in each palm.
An 800-year-old Buddhist statue will go on public display next month after being restored to its former glory
An 800-year-old Buddhist statue will go on public display next month after being restored to its former glory
The UNESCO-listed Guanyin statue, also known as the 'Goddess of Mercy', was carved some 800 years ago
The UNESCO-listed Guanyin statue, also known as the 'Goddess of Mercy', was carved some 800 years ago
The statue's bright golden colour lost its lustre over the centuries, cracks appeared in the sculpture and part of one of its many fingers fell off in 2007.
A restoration project, which began in 2008 and cost tens of millions of yuan, is finally complete and the statue will be on display to the public from June 13. 
Zhan Zhangfa, the China Academy of Cultural Heritage Project's team leader, said: 'This stone statue is a rarity anywhere in the world and rightly deserves its classification of Category 1 National Stone Relic Conservation Project.'
The conservation team used the most advanced X-ray and infra-red technology to analyse the statue and found various factors that have affected its structural integrity.
Experts gathered in Dazu to see the statue's grand unveiling after an eight-year restoration project
Experts gathered in Dazu to see the statue's grand unveiling after an eight-year restoration project
The Dazu Thousand-hand Bodhisattva was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279)
The Dazu Thousand-hand Bodhisattva was carved during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279)
Over the years, the statue's bright golden colour lost its lustre, cracks appeared in the sculpture and part of one of its many fingers fell off in 2007
Over the years, the statue's bright golden colour lost its lustre, cracks appeared in the sculpture and part of one of its many fingers fell off in 2007
Researchers found that the intense heat of Chongqing summers, which have a particularly oppressive humidity, which results in the surface of the Guanyin statue being covered in moisture. 
Mr Zhan added that the condensation forming and evaporation process has aged the statue and attacked the gold plating, leading to some bits flaking off.
Dazu rock carving expert Chen Huili explained that the process is similar to the damage caused by condensation in the home, which results in deterioration of walls and clothing.
He added it was a tricky problem for the team.
The 841-year old statue has had four recorded restoration projects which took place in 1570, 1748, 1780 and 1889. 
The colour of the golden statue, pictured during restoration, had faded after centuries of deterioration
The colour of the golden statue, pictured during restoration, had faded after centuries of deterioration
By 2007, one of the statue's many fingers had partly broken off and it had developed moisture on the surface
By 2007, one of the statue's many fingers had partly broken off and it had developed moisture on the surface
But the project team were hindered as there were no records from past restoration efforts of what was done and no similar restoration projects in or outside of China for them to refer to.
The team studied the Tongnan Buddha and the caves in Sichuan and Chongqing to find out the best techniques and methods to use in the restoration.
Dazu Rock Carvings museum director Li Fengyin told the People's Daily Online that the previous restorations used gold gilding and applied mud and even twine to repair the statue.  
Mr Zhan said that many people have raised their concerns over how long the repairs will last as the previous restorations had intervals that ranged from decades to centuries.
He said that this is a very difficult question to answer. 
Despite being the most comprehensive restoration project for the statue, environmental issues are a cause for concern, including the condensation as well as the dust from the incense that is burned on a daily basis.
The most comprehensive restoration of the 7.7m high and 12.5m wide statue took eight years to complete
The most comprehensive restoration of the 7.7m high and 12.5m wide statue took eight years to complete
Mr Li explained that these issues are being tackled from two different angles. 
The first is that the statue will be ventilated to rid it of the build-up of condensation.
Second, academics at Tsinghua University are looking into using the principles of aerodynamics to create a 'curtain' in front of the statue which will allow visitors to see the statue, but prevents dust from reaching it. 

1 comment:

Gilana said...

An amazing achievement by the Chinese people. The skill, patience and resources dedicated to the project is superior. The result is astounding. Very impressive.