IKARUGA, Nara Prefecture--Although badly scorched by a 1949 fire, one of the nation's oldest Buddhist murals is showing its true colors once again, courtesy of high-definition photo technology.

In early October, the Nara National Museum and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Nara city conducted the first full-scale photo shoot of the seventh century mural since 1935, when it was photographed in simple black and white.

The roughly 3.1-meter-by-2.6-meter mural of the Pure Land of Shakyamuni Buddha was singed in a 1949 fire at Horyuji temple’s Kondo main hall, and later designated as an important cultural property by the government.

The new 150-megapixel pictures are expected to provide further clues to the rich colors used in the mural, which was painted during the Asuka Period (592-710).

The digital photos cover 20 areas of the mural believed to retain their original colors.

The photo shoot was organized by a committee set up in 2015 by the temple in cooperation with the Cultural Affairs Agency and The Asahi Shimbun.

The photos reveal a red pigment used to paint a broad sash worn by Shakyamuni Buddha, seen in the mural's center.

The robe of Rakan, an enlightened follower of Buddha, painted in the left side of the mural appears bluish-green.

Vermilion lines remain on the sole of the foot of Hiten, a heavenly being in the left upper corner.

The pictures will be displayed from Dec. 7 at the Nara National Museum’s featured exhibition “Important Cultural Property, Glass Photographic Plates of the Murals in the Kond Hall of Hry-ji Temple: Tracing the History of the Photography of Cultural Properties.”

The exhibition is organized by the museum, Horyuji Temple, Benrido and The Asahi Shimbun.