Repairs Done on Important Cultural Property 1001 Kannon StatuesSanjusangen-do Hall's 45 Year Project, Kyoto
Spanning 45 years, the project for conservation and repair of all 1001 "Mokuzo Senju Kannon Ryuzo," or wooden standing statues of Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara, which are Important Cultural Properties, has been completed and the final step, their enshrinement, was held on December 22 at Sanjusangen-do Hall in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto. The project began in 1973 and it is the longest-ever project for repairing sculptures designated as an Important Cultural Property. The majestically shining Kannon statues were orderly lined up.
The placement of nine Kannon statues started around 9:00 a.m., with craftsmen attentively returning them to their original positions, taking care not to touch other statues. Apart from five statues entrusted to the Tokyo National Museum etc., all the Kannon statues were assembled in the hall.
According to the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Kannon statues were created after the temple's establishment by the Retired Emperor Goshirakawa in the late Heian Period and in the Kamakura Period after the temple's restoration from a fire.
Every year, approximately 20 statues had dust brushed away and the gold leaf on their surfaces was repaired. The number was increased to 40 statues per year from fiscal 2013, and the repair work for all statues, including those entrusted, was completed this fiscal year.
Shunei Kishi, chief steward at Myoho-in Temple, the main temple of Sanjusangen-do Hall, commented, "It is our great pleasure that repairs spanning about half a century are completed. We would like to once again express our gratitude for the efforts of the people involved."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)