Go around the world of Buddha statues 3:  The changes of the Japanese Buddha statue


 Great Buddha, Todaiji temple, Nara, 752 year (only head was made in the end of the 17th century), H.15m.        

< Great Buddha, Todaiji temple, Nara, 752 year (only head was made in the end of the 17th century), H.15m. >

 

This time, we look at the changes of Buddha statue expression from the typical sedentary statue of Nyorai(Tathagata).

 

It was the mid-sixth century that Buddha statue first came into Japan from the Korean Peninsula.

In Japan, Buddha statues production began in the early 7th century and reached prosperity in the Kamakura period.

The Japanese word Nyorai refers to Buddha,and means “a person knowing the truth”.

The kind of Nyorai is Shaka, Yakushi, and Amida etc.

今回は、仏像表現の移り変わりを、代表的な如来座像から読み解きます。

 

最初に仏像が朝鮮半島から日本に流入したのは6世紀中頃です。

7世紀前半から日本で仏像制作が始まり、鎌倉時代に隆盛を迎えます。

如来とは仏陀(悟った釈迦)を指し、「真理を知る人」を意味する。

如来には釈迦、薬師、阿弥陀、大日、弥勒と盧舎那仏がある。

 

 

The Asuka period when Buddha statue sculpture began

 仏像彫刻が始まる飛鳥時代

Shaka Nyorai of Buddha triad, Horyuji temple, Nara, 623 year, bronze, H.88cm.   

< Shaka Nyorai of Buddha triad, Horyuji temple, Nara, 623 year, bronze, H.88cm.  >

 

Japan had finished making the foundations of a united nation, and begun to learn a lot from continent.

This statue was made for mourning Prince Shotoku who performed the politics based on Buddhism.

This Buddha statue expression resembles things that were brought to the Korean Peninsula from China.

The features are narrow face, slender body, symmetrical expression of the costume, an almond type eye, and archaic smile.

 

日本は統一国家の地固めを終え、大陸から多くを学び始めた時でした。

この像は仏教に基づく政治を行った聖徳太子の菩提をとむらう為に造られた。

この仏像様式は、中国の北魏から朝鮮半島に伝わったものを色濃く残している。

面長な顔、細身、左右対称な衣文、アーモンド型の目、口元のアルカイックスマイルが特徴です。

 

 

The Nara period when the culture of aristocrat and Buddhism began

貴族と仏教の文化が花開いた奈良時代

Yakushi Nyorai of Buddha triad, Yakushi-ji temple, Nara, early 7th century, bronze, H.2.5m. 

< Yakushi Nyorai of Buddha triad, Yakushi-ji temple, Nara, early 7th century, bronze, H.2.5m. >

 

Japan learned from China, built a capital city and established the political institution.

Emperors built temples all over the country, and Great Buddha in Nara for national prestige.

An Emperor built this temple in order to pray for recovering from disease of his empress.

The features are full cheeks, long and narrow eyes, rich body, and the detailed expression of clothes gather.

This style that had dignified and decent expression was common to Buddha statues in China of the time (Tang Dynasty).

日本は唐にならって都を造り、政治制度を整えた。

天皇は全国に国分寺や、国の威信をかけ東大寺の大仏を造った。

この寺は天皇が皇后の病気平癒を祈願し建立された。

ふっくらした頬、切れ長の目、豊かな体躯、細かな衣の襞が特徴です。

この端正で威厳が感じられる作風は、中国の唐の仏像に通じる。

 

 

The Heian period when an aristocratic culture prospered

 貴族文化が隆盛を迎えた平安時代

Amida Nyorai, the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in temple, Kyoto, 1053 year, wood, H.2.8m 

< Amida Nyorai, the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in temple, Kyoto, 1053 year, wood, H.2.8m >

 

 the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in temple 

< the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in temple >

 

the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in temple 

<the Buddha statue is visible at center by the lighting-up.  by  http://waoblog.exblog.jp/10771014 >

 

One aristocratic family deprived imperial family of the national governance, and the centralized system declined before long.

When Tang Dynasty had ruined in the end of the 9th century and the social confusion of China was prolonged, Japan began to bring up original culture.

The aristocrat who reached an extreme of prosperity tried to reproduce a paradise by building this temple.

The purpose of the Buddhism moved from national protection to the stable condition of the aristocrat.

The features are quiet and graceful Buddha statue, and the sculptured mandorla in a skilled way that attached to the back of this statue.

The Japanese independent style was completed at this time.

 

この時代は、国家統治が天皇家から一貴族家に握られ、やがて中央集権制

は衰退していく。

9世紀末、唐が滅び中国の争乱が長引くと、日本は独自の文化を育み始める。

栄華を極めた貴族がまさに極楽浄土を、この寺によって再現しようとした。

仏教の目的は国家の鎮護から貴族の安寧へと移っていた。

おだやかで優美な仏像、飛天をあしらった透かし彫りの光背の派手さが特徴です。

ここに日本独自の表現が完成した。

 

 

The Kamakura period when samurai began to assume the political power

武士が政権を担い始めた鎌倉時代

Dainichi Nyorai, Enjo-ji temple, Nara, 1176 year, wood, H.1m, by Unkei 

Dainichi Nyorai, Enjo-ji temple, Nara, 1176 year, wood, H.1m, by Unkei

< Dainichi Nyorai, Enjo-ji temple, Nara, 1176 year, wood, H.1m, by Unkei >

 

In this period, money economy progressed rapidly along with the violent change of the politics.

The farmer and the samurai were enthused about new Buddhism.

Then people performed the reconstruction of temples that had gone to ruin by lost national support and Buddha statues that had lost by war damage.

It was the sculptor group of Unkei to done most of this work.

They accommodated the request from the new samurai class.

This statue was first work of Unkei that was representative of sculptors of the Kamakura period.

They changed it into realistic and dynamic style from the elegant style of the Heian period.

 

 

この時代は、政治の激変と共に貨幣経済が急進し、農民や武士が新しい仏教(浄土教、禅宗)に熱狂していく。

そして国家の支援を失い荒廃し、戦禍で消失した寺院と仏像の建立が行われた。

この一翼を担ったのが運慶率いる仏師グループで、新興の武士階級の要望に応えた。

この像は鎌倉時代を代表する運慶最初の作品です。

彼らは平安期の風雅な様式から写実的でダイナミックな造形に変えて行きました。

 

Great Buddha, Kamakura, the 13th century, H. 12m. 

< Great Buddha, Kamakura, the 13th century, H. 12m. >

 

After that time

The Buddhism continued spreading among common people and took root in the Edo period.

On the other hand, the traditional style of Buddha statue was continued by protection.

 

それ以降

仏教は庶民に浸透し続け江戸時代に定着することになる。

一方、仏像の表現形式は伝統を逸脱することがなくなる。

 

 

Categories: history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: Go around the world of Buddha statues | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Go around the world of Buddha statues 3:  The changes of the Japanese Buddha statue

  1. Very interesting and informative post! I loved seeing the Buddhas in both Kamakura and Nara. I had never known that it was actually the Koreans who introduced the Buddha statue to Japan.

  2. There is a replica of the Kyoto Byodo-in Temple on the island of Oahu.
    I have not seen the one in Kyoto, but your your photo does look a lot like the one that I took of the Byodo-in temple in the “Valley of the Temples.”
    http://storieswithnobooks.com/2013/09/18/byodo-in-temple-sacred-space/
    I have seen it spelled “Byodoin” and “Byodo-in.” I have been wondering which spelling is correct.
    Maybe both?

    • Thank you for commenting. I was surprised, too. Your photo looks just like Japanese one!  “Byodo-in” is perhaps right, but the both are understood.

  3. A very informative and interesting blog :~} Valz ♥

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