Why return of mummified Buddha matters

( ) Updated: 2015-04-16 14:46:29

Why return of mummified Buddha matters

A CT scan shows a body, whose internal organs were removed, concealed in an ancient Chinese statue of a Buddha. [Photos provided by the Drents Museum]

"The significance of retrieving the mummified Buddha Zhanggong goes far beyond the implication of retrieving a lost relic, as it is more than just a piece of cultural artifact for the Chinese nation," said a spokesman of the Federation of Chinese Social Organizations in Hungary.

According to the federation, retrieving a mummified Buddha is different from retrieving a Buddha statue, as a body carries more implications for the Chinese: reverting to origin after life passes away is just as natural as fallen leaves returning to the roots.

"That's why we are willing to spare our time and efforts in keeping it where it belongs," said the spokesman.

"Zhanggong has the right to return to where he chose to place his body – Puzhao Temple in Yangchun village," he said.

"Worshipping Zhanggong has been a tradition of local people in Yangchun village, it is also part of the Chinese culture," said Li Zhen, secretary-general of the federation.

Li said Zhanggong must have pioneered a new industry, established a school of thought, or have made great contributions to the local society that won him the respect from the residents.

"The fact that the Buddha is stolen is devastating for the local people, as the body is part of their religious and cultural belief," he said.

The mummified Buddha, currently in the possession of an anonymous Dutch collector, was said to be named "Liuquan" by an expert. The expert said that the characters "六全" (Liuquan) on the mat where the Buddha sits signifies the name of the Buddha.

This, however, turned out to be a mistake. "Liuquan" in Chinese means the Buddha is completely preserved, with the head, the body, the arms and legs remain intact.


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