Plenary 1

Presentation on 3D Documentation: Temple of the Tooth

Date: Thursday, 26th October 2017 |  Time: 11.30 am - 12.00 pm  |  Venue: Sri Dharmaloka Hall 

Professor Max Rahrig, Center for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technology-KDWT,

Department of Preservation Science, Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg, Germany


High-tech for preserving Sri Lankan Cultural Heritage Sites

-3D-Documentation of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy

 Max Rahrig a

a KDWT, Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies, University of Bamberg, Germany

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Sri Dalada Maligawa is one of the most important pilgrim sites in Buddhist culture. The temple, situated in the former Palace of the Sinhalese Kings, is the main part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sacred City of Kandy. Since the end of the 17th century the temple has been keeping the sacred tooth of the Buddha. Every day several thousand pilgrims and visitors from all over the world travel to Kandy to visit the temple and pray in front of the relic. In the course of time diverse structural changes on the former palace took place. However, the Temple is built in an area vulnerable to environmental factors like earthquakes or monsoon rains and it was the target of terrorist attacks, at least in 1998. Nonetheless, a site monitoring or a general documentation of the temple with all its rich decorations, like wall paintings, well carved woods and gilded surfaces was missing. The temples administration did not have any site documentation which is absolutely indispensable as a basis for ongoing and future construction works. To preserve this important cultural heritage a research project was carried out from 2015 to 2017 funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.


Main part of the project was a 3D-documentation of the entire temple by using Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) and to generate the first CAD-Plans. In addition to the documentation of the architecture several details, especially wood carvings and moonstones, were recorded in high resolution using Structured-Light-Scanning (SLS). All data became part of the digital archive of the temple and were used as a base for a general site monitoring, especially to observe cracks and for 3D-visualisations for the temple´s own Media Bureau. Next to the mere documentation a transfer of knowledge was another aim of the project. Therefor locals have been trained in processing and analysing the data and in heritage preservation. During the project duration it was possible to draw the first three CAD-plans. The processing of 11 textured 3D-models of ancient moonstones in high resolution and a first 3D-visualisation of the temple site were output of the project, too.




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