In the old days (which are still around sometimes),
if you wanted to make a copy of something like the Tang Horses, you’d take an impression using silicone rubber or rubber latex or something like that. It was/is a messy business that required a lot of preparation and even then sometimes damaged the artwork it was used on.
Technology to the rescue! Now it’s possible to use a hand-held 3D scanner to map an object and then create an accurate copy using what’s essentially a 3D ‘printer’. (Okay, that’s not a very scientific explanation, but it’ll do for now). We asked our Penn colleagues at the Historic Preservation Program for some help producing 3D scans of the Horses and they came over in late May to do a test run. The results were pretty impressive and they’ll be back in early July to do a full scanning project.