Illustration for article titled 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.

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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.

Illustration for article titled The colors on this digitally restored ancient statue are unreal
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The computer restoration was conducted by a joint research team from the Tokyo University of the Arts and Tokyo University of Science.

Illustration for article titled The colors on this digitally restored ancient statue are unreal

More from The Asahi Shimbun:

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.

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

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