fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Author: Kevin Buckelew 呂凱文

Kevin Buckelew 呂凱文

Visiting a Buddhist Statue Factory in Taiwan

      During my 2016–17 Fulbright fellowship in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to visit the Taoyuan factory of Sheng Kuang 聖光 (Sacred Radiance), a leading manufacturer of Buddhist statuary whose finished work can be found in temples and sacred sites across Taiwan and other parts of Asia. While the company produces Buddhist images of every size, some of their statues are remarkably large, including the Ushiku Daibutsu 牛久大仏 in Japan, which at 390 feet is (as of this writing) the third-tallest statue in the world. They have also produced large-scale statues for temples in Taiwan, such as the 236-foot tall image of the Buddha Maitreya at the Tian’en Maitreya Buddha Temple 天恩彌勒佛院in Hsinchu. Visiting their factory offered an amazing chance to witness firsthand how these statues are produced, and to better understand how new technologies are changing the manufacture of Buddhist statues.       Scholars of Buddhism know that images and icons have been fundamental to Buddhism’s historical spread across Asia since its emergence in roughly the 5th century BCE, and statues of the Buddha Śākyamuni, bodhisattvas, and other figures have always featured prominently on the altars of Buddhist temples and played an important role in the everyday religious lives of

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal