The curious case of a white sculpture

Bill hiked for three hours arriving at the mountaintop Himalayan valley.  The trail snaked through dense pine forests, shiny apple orchards, and fragrant lavender fields.  Surrounded by natural beauty, there stood a century-old temple.  Entering the temple, Bill noticed devotees praying in front of a white cylindrical sculpture.  The sculpture appeared similar to a black version that he had seen before, while traveling throughout this ancient country.

The truth followed.  Indeed, the original sculpture was made up of black stone.  Being on mountaintop, the temple occasionally would get shattered by lightning.  Afterwards, the resident-priest would collect carefully the multitudes of broken pieces from the dust of total destruction.  He would then re-attach the pieces utilizing molten butter as an adhesive.  In the cold environment of mountaintop, the adhesive would solidify quickly.  Several iterations of the process over past century created the current completely white appearance of the sculpture along with the myth of its invincibility.



By Sankar Chatterjee