Sixth-Century Sculpture Highlighted Through New Technology in Interactive Exhibition
Through cutting-edge digital technology, previously hidden meanings of a masterpiece of ancient Chinese sculpture may now be accessed by museum visitors, students and scholars. A new interactive installation presents the original sixth-century work alongside the evolving methods used to study it-from rubbings and photographs to the technological possibilities of today. “Body of Devotion: The Cosmic Buddha in 3D” will be on view in the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery January 30-December 2016.
“The Cosmic Buddha,” an icon of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art collection, has been 3-D imaged by the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office, which uses a variety of tools to record and share unique Smithsonian treasures. The exhibition includes the ancient sculpture itself, ink rubbings, a digital flat map of the surface and touchscreen monitors that allow visitors to manipulate the digital images of the object and explore information about it. “Body of Devotion” offers a special opportunity to understand the ancient sculpture and evolving methods of research.
“3-D scanning is an amazing process that brings new details to light,” said Keith Wilson, Freer|Sackler curator of the exhibition. “I can continue adding findings to the digital model and easily share information with other researchers. The exhibition is a great opportunity to feature this compelling work and show how advances in digital technology open up channels to new research and information.”