TOKYO: Workers scaled a giant statue of a Buddhist goddess in Japan on Tuesday (Jun 15) to place a custom-made mask on her face, an act meant to be a prayer for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took four workers three hours to carry the massive mask on ropes up the 57m white statue of the Buddhist goddess Kannon – the Goddess of Mercy – at the Houkokuji Aizu Betsuin temple in Fukushima Prefecture.
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A drone picture shows a mask placed on a statue of Buddhist goddess Kannon at Houkokuji Aizu Betsuin temple in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan in this handout photo taken on Jun 15 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
They then unfurled the mask made with pink net fabric, measuring 4.1m by 5.3m and weighing 35kg, across the lower half of the statue’s face.
The statue, built 33 years ago, is hollow with a spiral staircase that can be climbed to the height of the goddess’ shoulder. People visit the statue, which is holding a baby, to pray for the safe delivery of babies and to ask for blessings for their newborns.
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A mask is seen on a statue of Buddhist goddess Kannon at Houkokuji Aizu Betsuin in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan in this handout photo taken on Jun 15, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
Temple manager Takaomi Horigane said workers came up with the idea for the face mask in discussions on the restoration of the statue after it was damaged in an earthquake in February.
Horigane said they plan to keep the mask on the statue until the COVID-19 situation is under control in Japan.
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