Ancient art and monuments like Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhas could be given a new lease of life thanks to 'cloning' technology from the Japan's Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Research using a combination of 3D mapping, 3D printing and traditional art techniques. Amy Pollock reports.
It was thought that artefacts like Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhas were lost forever Destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, the ancient statues were blasted with guns and dynamite But 'cloning' technology developed in Japan could bring them back to life And allow new audiences around the world to enjoy and learn from them. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PRESIDENT OF FOUNDATION FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ART RESEARCH, MASAYUKI MIYASAKO, SAYING: "It has been perceived as counterfeiting and a crime. But by controlling them strictly, we believe we can create clones in order to show them to more people all year round. I hope people can enjoy and find inner peace through culture." The process involves 3D mapping of the artefacts The team then use 3D printing technology to make models And layers of colour and texture are added painstakingly by hand Materials as close to the originals are used for the reproductions And the finished products, like this copy of Japan's national treasure the Shaka triad statue, are now on display (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 64 YEAR-OLD VISITOR, ATSUKO OGUMA, SAYING: "I've only seen a photo of it, so it was great to see the statue." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 63 YEAR-OLD VISITOR, YUTAKA YAMAZEKI, SAYING: "These artefacts will go through erosion over time, so the technology that allows these items to be protected will be important.." The team hopes the art cloning technology can be used to protect cultural artefacts from being smuggled or destroyed. Visitors to Tokyo University of Arts museum can see the 'clones' until October 26.