Project Jigsaw:
Why Borobudur?

The selection of Borobudur as a suitable subject for the first part of Project Jigsaw arose from several circumstances:

  1. This World Heritage monument is accessible, substantially complete, and the object of scholarly, religious and touristic interest; Borobudur is the largest man-made monument in this class near to Australia;
  2. The restoration campaign conducted by Theodoor van Erp generated publications containing large monochrome photographs of Borobudur and all its reliefs, including those of the Hidden Basement (the majority subsequently covered up again);
  3. The volcanic stone of Borobudur is dark-grey and porous (it was probably covered with plaster and then painted), so a project focussing on over 3,000 monochrome images is possible and reasonable: any colour now to be found on the monument is due to mosses and lickens, themselves the result of the tropical climate.
  4. There are few monuments which have been as comprehensively photographed as Borobudur (and long enough ago for the images to be out of copyright); and the full suite of photos of the Hidden Base, not to mention the very complexity of the monument, provides a good target for VRML and the HTML extensions it provides. For example, whilst no computer simulation can substitute for a visit to the monument itself, our VRML model provides an opportunity to examine the whole monument, or any of its details, at leisure, and also allows the user to call up relevant text, comparative Monuments, etc. to fill out the study;