Scrolls found inside statue of Buddha in Nara

Scrolls found inside statue of Buddha in Nara

A probe has found many scrolls and other artifacts inside a centuries-old statue of Buddha in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara.

It was previously known that the seated Monju Bosatsu statue at Hokkeji temple contained something inside, but no one knew what was actually there.

The statuette likely dates back more than 700 years.

Officials from the Nara National Museum conducted a scientific probe of the 73-centimeter-high piece using a CT scanner. They discovered a hollow space stretching from top to bottom.

They ascertained there were about 30 items in the head, including scrolls and what appear to be relics, with around 150 more artifacts in the torso section.

The officials say there is no sign that the items have ever been taken out and believe they have remained untouched since being placed there.

The chief priest of the temple says she was surprised at the findings.

A museum researcher says the discovery is historically valuable and has increased the value of the statue as a cultural asset.

The figure will be on display at the museum for about 3 weeks from Tuesday.