Fri, Jun 26, 2020

TSUMUGU Project repair of 9 wooden statues of seated Amida Nyorai begins

Repair experts carefully wrap the chuzon with cloth for protection. (The Yomiuri Shimbun)

The Tsumugu Project this fiscal year (April 2020-March 2021) is granting funds to help restore the nine wooden statues of seated Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata), a government-designated national treasure housed at Joruriji temple in Kyoto. Of the nine statues, repair experts took to removing the 2.2-meter-tall chuzon, or principal statue, from its pedestal on June 25 before taking it to a repair facility inside Nara National Museum for the much-needed repair work.

Part of the proceeds from exhibitions organized by the Tsumugu Project and other cultural events are used to help finance the restoration.

The nine statues are seated in the main hall of the temple, representing the beliefs of the Jodo school of Buddhism, which was founded near the end of the Heian period.

The statues have not gone under repair for more than a century. The repair work, starting with chuzon this fiscal year, will involve fixing flaking lacquered leaves and dealing with a variety of other issues.

Repair experts from Bijyutsuin, a public interest incorporated foundation in Kyoto, carefully lifted the principal statue from its pedestal after covering it with paper and cloth for protection. The statue was transported to Nara the following day.

The chief priest of Joruriji said the Amida statues have been admired by the locals for a long time and hopes the receptive and gentle feature of these statues can be passed down to later generations.

See a video clip from our reporter in Kyoto:
To remove the chuzon, or the principal statue, from the pedestal, it was carefully placed on wooden boards and pushed forward from behind (Miku Sawano).

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun and other sources)

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