Visitors to Tokyo's Sensoji Temple were left in shock as an iconic dragon painting on the ceiling of the main hall peeled off and was left hanging above their heads.
The incident happened at about 11 a.m on July 8, said officials at the temple, a popular tourist destination that draws 30 million visitors every year.
Officials at the temple attributed the peeling to the aging of the painting. It has temporarily been removed from the ceiling.
“We want to repair it as soon as possible,” said a temple official, who declined to give his name, on Friday.
A photo of the peeled-off painting spread on social media earlier this week after a visitor posted it on Twitter.
The painting, called "Ryu no Zu" (literally translated as "Painting of a Dragon"), was scheduled for restoration this fall to address decades of deterioration.
Ryushi Kawabata (1885-1966) created the 6.4-meter-long and 4.9-meter-wide painting on traditional washi paper to decorate the hall in line with its reconstruction in 1958, following its destruction during World War II.
No injuries were reported in the incident, and the temple remains open to the public, including the hall that hosted the painting.
Sensoji Temple, which is recognized as the oldest temple in Tokyo, is celebrated by worshipers as the sanctuary of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, representing the embodiment of mercy from all Buddhas.