Great Buddha of Kamakura getting major 'health checkup'

posted on January 14, 2016

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is undergoing its first major "health checkup" in more than half a century.

Trucks carrying the necessary equipment arrived at Kotokuin temple early Jan. 13 to begin the two-month-long procedure on the massive bronze statue.

The 200 yen ($1.70) admission fee to the temple will be waived until March 10 while the 13.3-meter-tall statue is being examined and treated. During this period, it will be surrounded by scaffolding and covered in a translucent sheet. That means visitors will not be able to step inside the 121-ton statue.

The last time the statue believed to have been erected in the 13th century underwent such a major checkup was in 1959, and it took two and a half years to complete.

Officials said 65 million yen has been set aside for the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo to carry out the work.

As the colossal Buddha is a designated national treasure, the organization plans to be extra careful every step of the way. Technicians will use X-rays to determine the state of the statue and an ultrasonic scalpel to remove rust. Pigeon droppings and other stains will be removed by blasting them with water.

source by asahi
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