The 3D printed replicas are a result of using technology to protect precious statues important to Buddhism.
In the recent light of several thefts of precious Buddha idols in Japan, the worshippers were left searching for solutions. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism is worshipped by many people around the world. It is one of the most followed religions in Japan. There are several Buddhist Temples in and around Japan that house precious statues of Buddha. There have been many cases where these precious statues have been stolen, never to be found! As a matter of fact, 105 thefts of valuable statues were reported between 2007 and 2009. Temples can’t be locked, statues can’t be hidden; the question now is: How can statues be protected?
Various groups of people have trying to find a solution. After much research, the use of 3D printing to produce replicas of statues was tried and tested. A group of students from the Prefectural Wakayama Technical High School put this theory into practice by producing a 3D printed replica of a famous 51 cm high statue, of an Aizen Myoo statue. A famous 90 cm tall statue of Amitabha Tathagata, displayed at Jiangyin City, in Shimane, Japan, has also been replicated as a 3D printed model to protect it from possible theft.
The original statues that are of very high value will be securely relocated to a safer place and the 3D printed statues can be put in the Temples. Not being of very high value and easily duplicated, the Temple visitors can now also touch the statues, which was not permitted earlier since the precious statues were enclosed in glass cases. This is thus an advantage for the visually impaired people. More and more temples are being encouraged to follow suit and protect valuable statues.