Scantech Helps the 3D Digitization of Sanxingdui by Restoring a Bronze Sacred Tree

Jun 28, 2022

The cultural relic Sanxingdui is located in Guanghan City, Sichuan Province, China. It is the center of the ancient Shu civilization. Most of the cultural relics or fragments unearthed so far have been inferred to have originated in the late Shang Dynasty.

As the cultural relics of the sacrificial pit are constantly updated, the mysterious Sanxingdui has also drawn the attention of the world, giving people a new understanding of the ancient Shu civilization thousands of years ago.

According to the “The Classic of Mountains and Seas”, there is a huge sacred tree called Fusang on the east side of the sea. There are 10 suns growing on it, one sun stands at the highest end, and the other nine suns are on nine branches. Only one sun can survive, while the other nine suns were all bathed in water. This is the background of Hou Yi’s shooting of the sun. Because all 10 suns came out, the earth was scorched.

By far, the Bronze Sacred Tree in Sanxingdui was the only relic found related to this legend. And there are a total of 9 sacred trees, which are listed as cultural relics that are prohibited to be exhibited in China. In 2019, with the approval of the National Administration of Cultural Heritage of China, the restoration of Sanxingdui No. 3 bronze sacred tree by experts was officially launched. In this project, the laser 3D scanner of Scantech played a significant role. Our 3D scanner provided strong data support for the restoration of the No. 3 bronze sacred tree.

3D Digitization of Sanxingdui,3D Scanning Bronze Sacred Tree

The traditional method of restoration of cultural relics is camera measurement, but this measurement method has several disadvantages: high requirements on operators, high cost, relatively low result accuracy, and incomplete test results. The restoration of cultural relics with the introduction of 3D scanning technology can not only avoid damage to cultural relics to the greatest extent, but also 1:1 restore the collected data.

The first step in the virtual restoration of the No. 3 ancient bronze sacred tree is to collect data via 3D scanning. It is necessary to collect 3D data for the 69 branches of the ancient bronze sacred tree unearthed this time.

The second step is to generate a virtual model in 3D software, and then restore each branch accurately based on the shape of other similar relics of Sanxingdui of the same period.

The final step is to splice the 3D model, then, the virtual ancient bronze sacred tree is represented in front of us.

splicing the bronze sacred tree

splicing the bronze sacred tree

Sanxingdui Bronze Sacred Tree

Watch the video below to learn the entire process of the virtual repair of the bronze sacred tree in Sanxingdui.