JACQUES-EDOUARD BERGER FOUNDATION:World Art Treasures

Originally, we now know for a fact, the Borobudur monument contained 602 statues of the Buddha, rather than the 564, even 504, inventoried previously. Seven heads from this monument are at the Musée Guimet in Paris, two at a Boston museum, one at the Metropolitan, etc. But many statue heads have disappeared since the first small-scale cleaning ordered by the Briton Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1814, the first major restoration under the Dutch engineer Theodoor van Erp between 1907 and 1911, and UNESCO's joint project with the Indonesian government in the 1970s...

As for our visit today, now that we have arrived at the crowning stupa, successive vistas have been opened to us. Mainly, however, there is the feeling that the Buddha has accompanied us all along the way. This is Borobudur's main impact. Every niche bespeaks the Buddha's presence and, as the troubled pilgrim ascends slowly to the Unity at the top, he will find comfort and encouragement at every step. How marvellous to rest assured that the Buddha watches over the nature that surrounds and frames a monument built to reflect it.


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