Preserving history for future generations to learn from and enjoy is never a simple business, as both mankind and nature can both have a destructive influence. CyArk and Iron Mountain Incorporated, two organizations dedicated to preserving world heritage sites are using virtual reality (VR) to help save the Lukang Longshan Temple in Taiwan by completely digitising it.
Dating from the 18th Century, the Lukang Longshan Temple is one of the most revered Buddhist Monasteries in Taiwan owing to its architectural beauty and spiritual significance. The oldest Buddhist site in Lukang Township, the temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva, Guanyin, a female symbol of mercy venerated by Mahayana Buddhists.
Measuring over 5,000 square meters, the Longshan Temple contains a wealth of rarely seen wooden sculpture including carved pillars, and a caisson (spider web) ceiling supported ondougong (interlacing wooden brackets). CyArk 3D scanned both the interior and exterior of the temple whilst using drones to aerially capture data as well.
“Now, no matter what the future holds, we will have a record of this site and an ability to restore the temple,” said CyArk Field Manager, Ross Davison. “A researcher in the twenty-second century will now be able to virtually visit Lukang and conduct their research in the virtual environment—it will literally be like stepping back in time.”
“Most exciting of all, is that all of these extraordinarily beautiful architectural features will be accessible to everyone. Thanks to the generous support of Iron Mountain this is the first time the Longshan Temple will be available to virtually tour through the website or a VR mobile device,” says Mike Evans, CEO of CyArk.
To view the Lukang Longshan Temple you can head to CyArk.org for the walkthrough, or the temple roof and dragon pillar has been made available on the Sketchfab platform, either online or through the app for devices such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
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