Buddhist sculpture of the jgan period showed a marked

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Unformatted text preview: evealed the Far Eastern impulse to merge with—rather than seek to overcome—nature. A keen sensitivity to nature and a desire to find human identity with it in all its manifestations are among the strongest themes in the Japanese cultural tradition. The Court at Its Zenith 55 Fig. 22 Shishinden of the imperial palace in Kyoto (photograph by Joseph Shulman) Other features of Shinto architecture incorporated into both temple and secular buildings in the early Heian—or, to art historians, Jògan— period were the elevation of floors above ground level and the thatching of roofs with cyprus bark instead of clay tiles. (See the end of Chapter 1 for other remarks about the influence of granary style architecture on both shrine and palace buildings.) These features can plainly be seen in the old imperial palace (Shishinden) in Kyoto (fig. 22). The buildings of the palace compound were frequently destroyed by fire, and the present structures, most of them erected in the nineteenth century, are not even situated in the same part of the city as the original compound. Nevertheless, they are faithful reproductions and, in the absence of other buildings, give us at least some idea of what the capital looked like in early Heian times. Buddhist sculpture of the Jògan period showed a marked change from the realistic, often grandly imposing works of the Tempyò epoch. The court had withdrawn its direct patronage of Buddhism and, although many temples became privately affluent through the acquisition of landed estates, there was no further urge to undertake such vast artistic projects as the casting of the daibutsu, which had required the concerted effort of many craftsmen. Jògan statues were generally much smaller than those of Tempyò and were most likely carved by individual sculptors, who made very little use of the materials favored during Tempyò—bronze, clay, and dry lacquer—but preferred, instead, to work chiefly in wood. One reason for the new preference for wood was the interest aroused by the sandalwood statues imported from China about this time and in vogue at court. 56 The Court at Its Zenith Many Jògan statues were carved out of singl...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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