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Priests temporarily remove Buddha's soul from statue ahead of cleaning

The 15-metre-high statue at Todaiji temple in Japan is dusted off every year on August 7.

The cleaning process takes place ahead of the Bon Festival festival when people pay respects to their ancestors.

On Wednesday morning, holy men conducted a ceremony to temporarily remove the Buddha's soul from the statue.

About 180 worshippers then climbed onto the statue to clean and polish it, using brooms and dusters.

Some were raised in baskets suspended from the ceiling of the hall that houses the statue so they could clean difficult-to-reach areas including its face and chest.

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