May 5, 2014

The emergence of 3D scanning and printing allowed people scan and print identical copies of any old objects. In China, a new restoration project is using 3D-printing to help creating a replica of an 800-year-old Buddhist statue on Mount Baoding in Dazu County of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

The Qianshou Guanyin or Thousand Hands Goddess is part of the Dazu Rock Carvings which dates back to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). The entire stone-carved statue of Buddhist statue, including the statues of four attendants, is 7.7 meter tall and 12.5 meter wide. It is carved in a 15~30 meter high cliff and is the largest Thousand Hands Goddess statue in the world, covering nearly 88 square meters of floorspace.

The Thousand Hands Goddess is undergoing major restoration work, funded by the Chinese government. Rather than using a traditional method involving molding and casting, researchers used a 3D scanner and other low cost tools to capture the shape of the statue and build a 3D digital file of the statue. In order to create this super large prints, they sliced the 3D model into sections, printed out each component and then glued them together.

3D scanning

The 3D printed model of Thousand Hands Goddess was made in 1:3 proportion to the original. "It provides us with a scientific reference for restoring the main statue." said Chen Huili, deputy director of Dazu Cultural Relics Protection Project. "This is the first time that such a technology is used in a cultural relics restoration project in China."

3D printed model of Thousand Hands Goddess

The restoration project started in April 2011, and up to now 830 of the statue's hands have been restored. The middle and upper half of the statue, totally around 56 square meters, has been cleaned and painted.

The restoration project, dubbed "China's No.1 rock heritage preservation project," is expected to complete in the first half of 2015.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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