Restoration and Repair Methods

The goal of this project is to provide support for the repair and restoration of architectural cultural assets with regard to the accurate restoration of assets to their original condition via the analysis of data obtained from traditional architecture research studies. The main elements of the project include plans for the restoration of Seyeonjeongji Pavilion and Mireuksa Temple using 3D scan data. Other ongoing research projects include the restoration of ancient buildings such as Hwangnyongsa, Mireuksa and Jeongnimsa Temples, as well as research on heritage resource preservation methods and techniques.



Project to Repair and Restore the Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan

Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan Image

Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan

In 1998, based on the results of a structural safety inspection, concerns were raised about the deterioration of the structural safety of the tone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan, so the decision was made to carry out a “disassemble and restore” process in 1999. Some two years later, in October 2001, the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, in conjunction with Jeollabuk-do, carried out the disassembly, repair, and restoration of the stone pagoda. Although scant precise data regarding the pagoda was available before the repair work was carried out, significant data were collected in the process of dismantling and investigation. Studies are being carried out concerning the repair of stone-made cultural heritage objects, along with diverse academic studies in such areas as architecture, archaeology, art history, and preservation science. The dismantling and excavation of the Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan has been completed. The work for scientific preservation treatment and maintenance is under way, using the original members as much as possible.

Outline

The Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan was built in the Baekje Period, during the reign of King Mu (600-641). According to Samguk-yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), on the way to Sajasa Temple, King Mu and his queen saw an apparition of the Maitreya triad. They decided to build a temple on the spot, but it happened to be the site of a pond. Monk Jimyeong helped the king to fill up the pond overnight and accomplish their wish. Mireuksa Temple was completed finally with a layout constituting three areas, each containing a Buddha hall named Geumdang (golden hall) and pagoda.
Thought the pagoda is estimated to have been nine stories originally, it was collapsed before the 17th century and now only six stories remained. In 1915 the Japanese roughly reinforced the broken part with concrete and up until 2001 the pagoda had remained in this deformed shape. The stone pagoda at Mireuk Temple Site is known to be the biggest and oldest (judging by style) stone pagoda extant in Korea. The cross shaped corridor on the first story, central interior column, and structure of the ceiling are characteristic features of ancient stone pagodas.
Cording to the results of a structural safety inspection on 1998, The Cultural Properties Committee decided to dismantle and repair the pagoda for its continued conservation. Jeollabuk-do Administration had started scaffolding construction and begum preparing for dismantling from 1999. In November 2001, the National Research Institute of cultural Heritage began removing the concrete and has been safely dismantling and handling and the separate pieces of the pagoda The work of dismantling and the excavation survey was completed by 2010. The project to dismantle and excavate the Three-story Stone Pagoda of Bulguksa Temple was completed in 2010. The pagoda is currently undergoing repair and conservation treatment work.


Prior to the disassembly of the Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan image Prior to the disassembly of the Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan
View of the Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan image View of the Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan

Disassembly

Repair and Restoration Process of Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan

According to the results of a structural safety inspection on 1998, The Cultural Properties Committee decided to dismantle and repair the pagoda for its continued conservation. In preparation for the project, a makeshift hut was set up in 1991 on the temple grounds in Jeollabuk-do and, after October 2001, the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage took over the project, removing the concrete that had been slapped onto the pagoda for reinforcement purposes and conducting a structural analysis of the disassembled pagoda.


Prior to the disassembly of the stone pagoda (East) image Prior to the disassembly of the stone pagoda (East)
Prior to the disassembly of the stone pagoda (Bird's-eye view) image Prior to the disassembly of the stone pagoda (Bird's-eye view)

Traditional stonemasons had to break the concrete around the stone pagoda that was cast to enforce the structure in 1915 under Japanese rule. This was in order to remove the stone pagoda from the damaged section. The amount of concrete removed from the site as of 2004 was 185 tons.


Disassembled concrete (6-stories) image Disassembled concrete (6-stories)
Disassembled concrete (2-stories) image Disassembled concrete (2-stories)

A professional grappler had to use a 10ton hoist to carry the stone pagoda and the damaged section safely. The dissembling and transfer of a stone pagoda requires years of experience and advanced skills.


Disassembled stonework image Disassembled stonework
Disassembled stonework image Disassembled stonework

As the stonework was dismantled, the first base of the stone pagoda, and the inner foundation stone, were exposed. From the disassembly of the southwestern section of the stonework it appeared that the newly-found stone statue was in excellent condition, with almost no damage to the face and body. It is assumed that the stone statue was built prior to the stone pagoda.


Excavation of stone statue from southwestern part image Excavation of stone statue from southwestern part
Reinforcement prior to dismantling of first story image Reinforcement prior to dismantling of first story

The stone pagoda’s first base level and inner foundation stone were tilted and displaced, making it imperative to disassemble the structure in order to carry out safe repair and restoration work. In January 2009, during the creation of the cruciform passage, many well-preserved artifacts such as the Sari Urn, which was buried during the reign of King Muwang of Baekje, were excavated.


Construction of cruciform passage prior to dismantling image Construction of cruciform passage prior to dismantling
Comprehensive plan of the cruciform passage image Comprehensive plan of the cruciform passage

Measurement

Repair and Restoration Process of Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan

Before disassembly, the shape of each piece is precisely surveyed with a digital measuring device and the information is recorded as electronic data (three-dimensioned data). Also, in the case of pieces that unavoidably end up in a different position after repair, the difference in position is measured and recorded in order to produce records for comparison and evaluation of the pagoda before and after the restoration project.


Location of damaged section before dissembling image Location of damaged section before dissembling
Survey key map image Survey key map

The configuration and elevation of all pieces of the pagoda are recorded along with photographs and plans. The survey records of each piece are used to analyze construction techniques and condition and are also used as data for repair and restoration of the pieces.


Photo shoot of damaged section after dissembling image Photo shoot of damaged section after dissembling
Gwiokgaeseok Stone CAD blueprint image Gwiokgaeseok Stone CAD blueprint

Measuring points recorded with a digital theodolite Benchmarking scheme Digital solids of all the pieces and their shapes as they appear in the process of dismantling are produced with 3D scanning. Motion simulation and modeling data are produced from the 3D solids to provide basic materials for academic research and structural analysis of the pagoda, as well as investigation of reasons for its collapse.