Chapter 8 * Japan Before 1333

Chapter 8 – Japan Before 1333
Megan C.
Nuri C.
Khoi N.
The Pre-Buddhist Periods in Japan
Jomon Period (10,500-300 BCE)
Yayoi Period (300 BCE-300 AD)
Kofun Period (330-552 AD)
The Artistic and Architectural
Achievements of the Jomon Period
• “Jo-” = marking
• “-mon” = decorating earth vessels
Rope markings
Incised lines
Additive coils of clay on the pottery surface
Molded not painted
Intricate surface
Sculpted rim
Extremely heavy
Quasifigural motifs, sometimes jeopardized basic functions
Used for storage, bone burial, and cooking
The Artistic and Architectual
Achievements of the Yayoi Period
• “Pit dwelling” homes
• Less sculptural
• More polychrome pottery, bronze casting, and
loom casting
• Dotaku – ceremonial bells based from Han
• Made by casting clay molds
• Had raised decorations
The Artistic and Architectural
Achievements of the Kofun Period
“Ko-” = old
“-fun” = tomb
Tumuli – pit graves covered with huge mounds
– signaling the rise of political leaders
Regalia – mirrors, swords, and comma-shaped jewels
Haniwa – clay circle
Deceptively whimsical with cylindrical theme
Placed on or around pit graves in curved rows
Decorated with objects, animals, and humans (warriors, etc.)
Thought to protect living or dead from contamination
Ise Shrine – varied shrine structures
Ise had granaries represented on bronze mirrors and/or clay
Had metallic details
White grand mortise and tenon system
Slots in poles for sticks
Pre-Buddhist (Shinto) VS. Buddhist
Shrine Architectural Strategies
 Ise Wood
 Followed Tang Chinese
 Mortise and tenon system
 Ceramic roof
 Slip wood in slots in pillars
 Curved roofline
 Two poles and ridge pole
The Materials and Styles of Japanese
Buddhist Sculpture
• Japan followed Korean and Chinese examples during the Asuka and
Nara Periods
• Made sculptures out of bronze
• The Tori Busshi’s Shaka triad is one of the earliest Japanese
Buddhist sculptures
– The elongated heads and neat curves reflect the sculptural style of
– Made of bronze
– Consisted of three human figures: Buddha and his two bodhisattvas
• In the Yakushi triad, Japanese sculptors began to consider ideas
from the Tang China and Korea
– Used long stylistic trails from China and out-thrust hip poses from
Indian sculpture
– Like the Tori Busshi, this sculpture was also made of bronze
The Relationship of Hand Scroll
Painting and Japanese Society and
• Hand Scroll = an intimate object that is held by the hands and is
viewed by only a certain number of people at a time
– Composed of sheets of paper or silk
– Can vary in length, up to two feet long
• The earliest hand scroll illustrated is the Tale of Genji
– Japan’s first and perhaps most important novel
– Used delicate brush techniques and bright colors
• Hand scrolls were often used as a teaching object to society as a
visual reference
• Hand scrolls consist of different subject matters:
– Political stories to even epic romances
• The Japanese illustrated hand scrolls to bring old stories back to life
The Impact Communication with China
and Korea had on Japanese Art and
• In 552, the ruler of Paekche, one of Korea’s Three Kingdoms, sent Japan’s
ruler a gilded bronze statue of the Buddha along with sutras (Buddhist
– This marked the beginning of the Asuka Period:
• When Japan’s ruling elite embraced major elements including:
– Cultural components: Chinese writing, Confucianism, and Buddhism
• In 645, a series of reforms led to the establishment of a centralized
government in place of the individual clans that controlled the different
regions of Japan
– This marked the beginning of the Nara Period:
• When the Japanese court increasingly adopted the forms and rites of the Chinese court
• In 710, the Japanese established the permanent capital at Heijo, known
today as Nara
– The city planners laid out the new capital on a symmetrical grid similarly
modeled to that of the China capital, Chang’an
(8-16) The Priest Shunjobo Chogen
Early 13th century
Kamakura Period
Created by the “Kei School” of sculptors
Carved and painted out of cypress wood
Is a portrait statue of priest Shunjobo
• a leading figure in planning and
directing the reconstruction efforts
in rebuilding Nora
A powerful rendering of aging signs
Included personal attributes- the prayer
Exhibits carving skills and style of the Kei
• Heian carving techniques combined
with increased concern for natural
volume and detail from Nara Period
works and works from Song China
Rough, bumpy, and hard texture
(8-12) Taizo Kai (Womb World)
Second half of the ninth century
Heian Period
found in a temple
Artist unknown
A colored, hanging scroll of silk (6’x5’5/8)
Contains frontal views of humanoid figures
Usually hangs on the wall of a Shingon
Composed of 12 zones, each representing
one of the various dimensions of buddha
• For example: universal knowledge,
wisdom, achievement, and purity
Is among the oldest and best preserved in
Many figures appear to be holding
lightning bolts
• Symbolizing power of the mind to
destroy human passion
Central motif = the lotus of compassion
Is one of a pair of paintings (the other is
Kongokai- the Diamond World)
(8-2) Vessel from Miyanomae
2500-1500 BCE
Jomon Period
Unknown artist
Carved out of earthenware
Had various uses:
• storage
• Cooking
• Bone burial
One of the earliest art forms of
Has handles on the side
Wealth of coils
Striped incisions
Deep and intricate surface
Partially painted rim
Neutral colors
Bumpy texture
Quasifigural motif
(8-2) Vessel from
Made of earthenware
Jomon Period of Japan
2500-1500 BCE
Used for:
– Storage
– Cooking
– Bone burial
• Rigid and thin/fine lines
• Angular motif
(5-2) Geometric
Made of ceramic
Geometric Art Period of Greece
740 BCE
Depicts a narrative of a burial
Depicts four horses lined up
Decorated with organic and thick
Has a quasifigural motif
Contains geometric shapes
Created to pay respects to the
person in which the ceremony is
dedicated to
– Primarily for more wealthy families
(not all families)
– Hole on the bottom of the krater
either for pouring offerings to the
grave or simply for draining potential
rain water
Similarities of (8-2) the Vessel of
Miyanomae and (5-2) the Geometric
Neutral colors (brown/black)
Pot-like sculptures
Are meant to hold something inside
Have handles for practical use
Both have a relationship with rituals for the dead:
– (8-2): used to store old bones; bone burial
– (5-2): created for the family of a deceased person to
mark their grave

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