The colors on this digitally restored ancient statue are unreal

It's considered a Japanese national treasure, but the colors on an 8th century statue of the Buddhist deity Shukongojin have all but faded. Now, using computer graphics technology, a joint team from Tokyo has brought its vivid colors back to life.

The 68-inch (173 cm) tall statue is only displayed to the public once a year at Nara's Todaiji temple. Normally, it's kept in a Buddhist altar called "zushi" at the temple's Hoddedo (Sangatsudo) Hall — another Japanese national treasure.

The colors on this digitally restored ancient statue are unreal

The computer restoration was conducted by a joint research team from the Tokyo University of the Arts and Tokyo University of Science.

The colors on this digitally restored ancient statue are unreal

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As a result of two years of research, the team used computer graphics technology to re-create the colors of the rich-colored patterns of the statue from the Tenpyo Period (729-749), based on pigments that remained on its surface. The restored colors also show peacock feathers used to encircle the "hidden" statue, which wields a "vajra" (thunderbolt) in his right hand.

[ Image credit: Tokyo University of the Arts | Source: The Asahi Shimbun ]