Cleaning of the Great Buddha of Nara (Japan)

19 marzo 2007

The ceremony of cleaning the image of the Great Buddha of the Tôdai-ji Temple, in Japan, is performed on 7th of August every year. About 230 people, including priests, work in the dusting of this 16-metre giant statue. The cleaners have to climb all over Buddha to be able to polish the hands and feet and ride in baskets hung from the ceiling in order to clean its head.

Before the cleaning priests step on the sacred image, a ceremony of taking out the spirit of Buddha must be performed. The priests clad in white take off some dozen bucketfuls of dust.

The statue is the largest and the oldest bronze Buddha image in the world. It was made at the order of Emperor Shômu and completed in 752. Today, it is a World Heritage Site, and the main hall, Daibutsu-den, is the largest wooden structure in the world.

According to Wikipedia, the Buddha is 14.98 meters high y it weights about 500 tons. Its eyes are 1.02 meters long, and its ears are about 2.54 meters. A place which reminds me of the "Colossus" sung by Sylvia Plath: "Nights, I squat in the cornucopia / Of your left ear, out of the wind, / Counting the red stars and those of plum-color"

Sources: 1, 2, 3