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Fri May 5, 2017, 08:32 AM


Japan preserves Buddhist statues and cultural artifacts with 3D scanning and 3D printing

May 5, 2017 | By Tess

The digital conservation movement, which seeks to capture artifacts and monuments (often using 3D scanning technology), is growing quickly across the world. In the Middle East, efforts such as #NEWPALMYRA are using advanced technologies like 3D scanning and 3D printing to digitize and effectively preserve cultural structures that have either already been destroyed or are under threat of destruction.

And while digital conservation has seen a critical surge in certain conflict areas, the technology is also being used elsewhere. In Japan, for instance, researchers from the Chiba University have been using 3D scanning to capture 3D models of Buddhist statues and other cultural artiffacts. The effort, which is being done primarily to preserve the objects in case of deterioration or theft, is also serving a touristic purpose.

According to the researchers, some local communities are using the 3D models to make miniature models of the Buddhist statues, which are then sold as special charms to tourists, and some artists are using the models to make specialty jewelry and mementos.

The preservation initiative was started by Professor Akira Ueda from Chiba University’s graduate school of engineering in 2013. At the time, Ueda reached out to a number of temples and shrines to see if they’d be interested in having their landmarks preserved digitally. At the sign of interest, Ueda’s team brought a portable 3D scanner to 10 sites (including the Kyodo Shiryokan local history museum in Kamogawa), where it proceeded to capture the 3D data of roughly 40 different pieces.


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