1,300-year-old statue revived using digital tech in central China

The Longmen Grottoes, a world cultural heritage site in central China’s Henan Province, has restored a damaged Buddha statue using digital technology so that visitors could see the original look of the 1,300-year-old figure.

The statue was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and a part of its face between the bun and nose later went missing.

Using documented records, image information and similar statues built during the period as references, experts have virtually restored its original look.

Shi Jiazhen, Head, Research Institute of Longmen Grottoes, said visitors could virtually view the intact colorful appearance of the figure by scanning the damaged statue through a mobile app.

Located in the city of Luoyang, the site has more than 2,300 grottoes with 110,000 Buddhist figures and images, over 80 dagobas, and 2,800 inscribed tablets created between the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-557) and Song Dynasty (960-1279).

In the early 20th Century, the grottoes were largely damaged and looted, with many Buddha statues carried overseas.

Gao Junping, head of the institute’s information centre, said the statue was damaged at some time between 1910 and 1923.

The grottoes initiated a three-dimensional digitalisation project in 2005 and, 80 per cent of the grottoes had already received a three-dimensional scan.

The application of a series of digital technology is helpful for the revival of the heritage and the inheritance of culture.

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