The future of art restoration and replication is on display in Qingdao in the Huangdao Development Zone, aka “Kaifaqu”.

The Buddhist cave statues in the Yungang Grottoes of Datong, Shanxi are recognized as world historical treasures, having UNESCO World Heritage status.

Now they have been replicated using 3D printing technology with the collaboration of Qingdao Publishing Group, Zhejiang University (based in Hangzhou), and the Yungang Grottoes Research Institute.

More info from Xinhua:
Thanks to 3D printing technology, three reproductions of Buddhist statues in the Yungang Grottoes, a 1,500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site, are being displayed in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao.

The Yungang Grottoes art gallery, which opened to the public Saturday, displayed three full-size replicas of Buddhist statues from the caves in northern China’s Shanxi Province.

Researchers built 3D models for the three statues, then used 3D printers to reproduce them.

“The color was first painted automatically by machines. Then artists from Yungang added color in detail,” said Diao Changyu, assistant to the dean of the cultural heritage institute at Zhejiang University.

The Yungang Buddhist Grottoes in Datong City boast 51,000 Buddhist images in caves stretching for 1 kilometer along a cliff. It was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2001.

According to Zhang, the reproduction programs of two other caves, supported by 3D printing technology, are underway.

This project underscores the importance of 3D printing technology for the (re)creation of objects that are precious yet hard to see in person, either due to inaccessibility and/or unavailability.

Head over to City Media Plaza near Zhujiang Lu just west of Qingdao University of Technology to see the fabulous recreation of the Yungang Grottoes of Datong, Shanxi.

Find out where to see the replicas on the Baidu Qingdao map here.

Compare the original below with the replica above.

Yungang_Grottoes original Rita Willaert Flickr

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