Buddhist art is widely known in the world for its beauty and elegancy. Fo Guang Yuan Hsi Lai Art Gallery has many wooden Buddhist statues since its founding in 1988. However, as time passed, the statues have cracks and some colors have faded due to aging and dryness.
Since March 1, the devotee Fan Chen started repairing seven statues at Hsi Lai Temple, including Maitreya, Skanda, and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattvas, as well as Bodhidharma. He explained that restoration can prevent the damaged parts from further deterioration, and the wood carving sculptures can be repaired to their original state. After 40 days, he completed the restoration on April 12, and the sculptures were brought back to the gallery with the help from Ven. Hui Shiuan and Ven. Man Deng. During the entire restoration period, he often received care and support from Abbot Ven. Hui Dong, as well as Temple Directors Ven. Hui Hao and Ven. Mankuang.
Chen received fine art training in mainland China, and was fascinated with Dunhuang’s painted sculptures. He shared an indescribable incident of his granddaughter with us. When he helped repair an Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva sculpture at Hsi Lai Gallery seven years ago, his granddaughter was born with a bending right foot. However, as soon as he finished repairing the three toes of the right foot of the Avalokitesvara sculpture, his granddaughter’s right foot was able to stretch straight. Over the years, Chen strongly believes that when he works with his heart, the Bodhisattva will bless him. He is grateful to Hsi Lai Temple for giving him such an opportunity.