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The Formation of the Plain-Wood Style and the Development of Japanese Buddhist Sculpture: 760-840
Author Morse, Samuel Crowell
PublisherHarvard University
Publisher Url
LocationCambridge, MA, US [劍橋, 麻薩諸塞州, 美國]
Content type博碩士論文=Thesis and Dissertation
InstitutionHarvard University
Publication year1985
Keyword佛教人物=Buddhist; 法師=Master; 圖像學=Iconography; 雕塑=雕刻=Sculpture
AbstractThe major challenge confronting historians of the sculpture of the Heian period has been to explain the stylistic and formal relationships between works such as the standing Yakushi at Jingo-ji carved in the 780s and statues such as the Amida by Jocho at the Byodo-in dated 1053. Although a consistent pattern of stylistic evolution can be recognized beginning in the late ninth century, such an orderly progression cannot be seen in the sculpture of the early decades of the Heian period which accounts for the technical, iconographic, and stylistic diversity of the material.

At the beginning of the ninth century, Japanese Buddhist sculpture can be roughly divided into two large stylistic groupings: a lacquer group which reflects the survival of the forms and methods of the Official Buddhist Sculpture Workshop at Todai-ji, and a wood group which reflects new forms and carving techniques introduced from China at Toshodai-ji. Each may be redivided into two clearly defined sub-groups. The lacquer group is made up of works in an Official style which reveal most clearly the survival of the styles of the mid-eighth century and images in a Shingon style which combines traditional techniques with the newly introduced iconography of the Shingon sect. The wood group consists of statues in a plain-wood style characterized by brooding facial features, rounded corpulent bodies, and deeply carved concentric drapery folds, and works in a sandalwood style derived from the tradition of small finely carved images which were considered particularly sacred throughout the Buddist world.

The purpose of this thesis is to postulate a scheme for the development of the sculpture of the late eighth and early ninth centuries. The primary goal is to show how the diverse styles of the sculpture of the early Heian period evolved from the sculptural traditions of the late Nara period and evolved into these four distinct stylistic lineages by the middle of the ninth century. Ultimately, the four lineages combined to produce a unified style of sculpture which culminated in the creation of Jocho's masterpiece.

Created date2008.05.01
Modified date2016.02.04

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