Byodo-in Temple Phoenixes Sparkle with GoldGilding Restores Original Image24 February 2014 - Temples/Shrines
As a part of the first extensive repair work in 56 years of the Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple, a National Treasure, in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture, the phoenix statues on its roof were reborn in gold and unveiled to the press on February 24. The statutes were gilded to bring them closer to their original image at the time of the temple's construction. A Buddhist service will be held on April 2 to celebrate the completion of the Phoenix Hall's repair and its interior will be reopened to the public from April 3.
The current statues were reproductions made in 1968 on the basis of the original phoenixes, National Treasures, made in 1053 at the time of the construction. Prior to the repair, they were bronze colored, as they were made of bronze, but it was determined to return their color to the original, in accordance with the research results. Although the original statues were gold-plated, this time the second ones were gold-filled due to the condition of their surface.
From last September, craftspeople in Kyoto City repaired damaged areas and impressed gold foil on them. The gilt was double-layered to increase its brightness, and approximately 600 to 700 gold leaves of approximately 11 square centimeters were used.
On that day, Monsho Kamii, the chief priest, performed a Buddhist service with other two priests. In the middle of chanting the sutra, they pulled strings to unveil the statutes to the audience. The chief priest was pleased and said, "With their quiet golden tone, they look elegant and strong." They will be installed on the southern and northern ends of the roof of the central hall of the Phoenix Hall by the beginning of March.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)