Restoration of three statues of the three gods at a certain Hachiman Shrine

Introduction.

The three statues are in the form of a male god and two goddesses, each representing a monk and an ancient woman. This type of form has existed since the Heian period, and this statue is also thought to have been created around the late Heian and Kamakura periods.

Although the entire statue has been eaten by insects over the years, it is a very beautiful statue with a solemn and overwhelming presence.

Main Staff

Shirasawa Yoji

Yamada Aki

Xu Wenjun​

The name of the deity enshrined and the name of the owner are not disclosed, as they are usually never seen by the public. 

Before the restoration

Statue of Goddess A (height 54cm)

Statue of a male god (height 51cm)

Statue of Goddess B (52cm high)

The wood used for this statue was verified to be cypress. Japanese cypress was the most common wood for wooden statues at the time. However, both statues have wood cores and large knots that are unsuitable for carving, and Goddess B in particular has traces of scorching on the inside. This suggests that the statue was carved out of a so-called sacred tree or spiritual tree, and it is possible that the tree that was struck by lightning may have been used.

The statue had been enshrined for many years, but it had become very fragile due to damage from insects, and immediate action was needed. Therefore, this statue has been restored in our laboratory over a period of three years since 2017.

Removing the front part of the statue of the goddess B
There are scorchy marks and large knots.

Decayed leg of a male god statue

Statue of goddess A.  Decay of the bottom of the statue

Statue of Goddess B. Decay of the bottom of the statue

The first step was to fumigate the insects in order to prevent them from further biting. After a careful cleaning, the surface and inside were strengthened. At this time, great care was taken to ensure that the color did not change with the reinforcing material. We were careful not to tamper with the statue as much as possible, but we treated the parts of the statue that inevitably needed to be strengthened with cypress or lacquer.

Cultural property fumigation (construction by Ikari Disinfection Co., Ltd.)

wet cleaning

Surface Reinforcement

Strengthen the worm-eaten area from the inside out

Restoration with cypress wood

The state before filling in the reinforced

The state after filling in the reinforced

In addition, the bottom of the statue was distorted by ageing and was in a very unstable condition. Therefore, we have created a board that fits the bottom and a lacquered stile.

A pedestal in production

Checking the balance between the statue and the pedestal

Statue of Goddess A 

Statue of Goddess A (slanting light)

Statue of Goddess B

Goddesses A and B are similar in size, but different in style. Goddess B is depicted with a younger look, while Goddess A has a very stern expression when the light is shone on it. On the other hand, it seems that B was made a little older than A. It should be noted that the facial lines and hands on the statue of the male god are presumed to have been added in a later period.

​After restoration

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