US News Hidden Treasure Discovered in Ancient Buddhist Statue

22:20  08 may  2018
22:20  08 may  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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During routine restoration, researchers discovered a surprise hidden in an ancient gold-painted Chinese Buddha statue : a mummy hidden inside. The mummy was once the Buddhist monk Liuquan, according to text found with the statue .

A CT scan of a Buddhist statue from the 11th or 12th century has revealed an extraordinary secret – it houses the mummy of an ancient Chinese Buddhist monk. That’s when they discovered the hidden paper scrolls and figured out that the mummy was the body of Liuquan, an ancient Buddhist

  Hidden Treasure Discovered in Ancient Buddhist Statue © Newsweek

A hoard of artifacts, including scrolls and relics, has been discovered hiding in the body of an ancient Buddhist statuette. Sitting just 30 inches tall, the figurine is stuffed with about 180 artifacts.

Officials believe the mysterious objects have lain undisturbed since they were placed in the statue, which is thought to be about 700 years old, Japan's national public broadcasting organization NHK reports.

Scientists were sure something was hiding inside the statue from the Hokkeji Temple in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara. They used CT scans to probe its innards, finding scrolls and other artifacts nestled within the body of the statue, the temple reported. Around 30 items are hidden in the statue’s head and about 150 are stuffed inside the body, NHK reported.

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"The mummified body hidden inside the buddhist statue is sitting on a roll of cloth," Buddhism expert Erik Bruijn told Discovery News. The artifacts discovered near the copper clad mummies included an iron combat knife, bracelets, silver medallions and bronze figurines.

For centuries it was just an innocent, ancient Buddhist statue . But following a CT scan to discover the contents, a mummified skeleton of a Buddhist monk was discovered . Dating from around 1100 AD, the monk is believed to Liuquan, a Chinese Buddhist Master.

“In terms of the artifacts inside, the statue is really special,” Shigeki Iwata, special research chair at the Nara National Museum, told NHK. “The discovery is historically valuable and has increased its value as a cultural asset."

The statue in question depicts Monju Bosatsu, a great Bodhisattva personifying wisdom. Bodhisattvas are those on the path to becoming a buddha. Monju—known as Mañjuśrī, Mãnjughoṣa and Vāgīśvara in Sanskrit—is often shown armed with Buddhist literature in one hand and a sword in the other to cut through ignorance. Monju often sits atop a lion, representing the taming of the mind through wisdom.

Monju is venerated as one of the four great bodhisattvas in China, and his influence can be seen throughout Asia. He is depicted in Japanese, Tibetan, Nepalese and Indonesian art, for example. He is often depicted as a youth to represent the purity of his wisdom, the Metropolitan Museum of Art reports.

This mysterious Monju statue will appear at the Nara National Museum until May 27. Whether scientists will crack into the figurine to reveal the artifacts inside remains to be seen.

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