Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Vibrant Colors Adorned Buddhist Sculpture

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Buddhist-Statue-ColorsNARA, JAPAN—A team led by Satoshi Yabuuchi of Tokyo University of the Arts has used computer graphics technology to re-create the original appearance of an eighth-century Buddhist statue of the armor-plated deity Shukongojin, which is kept in the Todaiji temple in Nara. Their research of the pigments left on the surface of the sculpture has shown that it was decorated in complicated patterns made up of brilliant colors. Shukongojin, surrounded by peacock feathers and holding a thunderbolt, is credited with guarding the law of Buddhism. The sculpture goes on display once a year.