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3D Printing and Scanning Saves 800-year-old Chinese Buddha Statue

The Chinese government has found an amazing new application of 3D printing and scanning technologies: preserving as well as replicating the famous Qianshou Guanyin sculpture, which is carved into Mount Boading in the Dazu District of China. The 3D printing of historical artifacts seems to be a growing trend, reminding us the power and flexibility of eternalizing any object with a scan, a design file, and a 3D model.

“Engineers have 3D scanned the 12.5 X 7.7 meter statue, which was carved into a cliff during the reign of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127–1279. From the 3D scans they have printed out a replica of the famous sculpture, which is about 33% the size of the real thing. This has been a great way to preserve the sculpture digitally, so that generation after generation can appreciate the work, even as the original continues to corrode. This is the first of many restoration projects that the Chinese government has planned on using this technology for.

In addition to the printing of a replica, the Chinese are also engaging in a major project to restore the beautiful piece, which over the centuries has been the victim of nature. The replica gives engineers a wonderful model to use as a reference during the restoration process. Many of the fingers on the hands, making up this large piece of art are missing. Traditionally, restoration specialists would use molding and casting to reproduce the missing pieces. However, with the help of 3D printing, they can now save time and money, while restoring the sculpture in a much more accurate way.” –3DPrint.com

This is a great example of how 3D printing and scanning can be applied in new innovative ways. With the knowledge that nothing lasts forever in the physical world, combined with the fact that a picture can only show so much, it becomes clear just how powerful 3D printing and scanning technology can be as means of preservation. A 3D model, whether in CAD design or 3D printed, gives a much deeper story, and doesn’t degrade over time.

Original article posted here by 3DPrint.com

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