Name: Ise Shrine, Main Hall (Honden)
Date: 4 BCE (date from 8th Century CE text), rebuilt every 20 years, most recently 2013
Material/Dimensions: Cypress Wood, 3 bays wide and 2 bays deep
Shape: Angualr, Symmetrical
Ornament: wood, repetative, functional structure
What makes this a Shinto building?
Function: Used by the Imperial family as a shrine, Keeps the traditional Japanese architectural practices in use by rebuilding it every 20 years.
Symbolism: Celebrates naturalism with the wood and enviornment, House of the sun goddess Amertasu
Name: Mirror from Takarazuka Tomb
Date: Kofun Period, 300-450 CE
Materials/Dimensions: Bronze, 9 inch diameter
Ornament: Detailed, buildings depicted are very traditional, Balanced asymmetry, radial, both organic and manmade materials are depicted, pattern is similar to Jomon period cord marks
How does this object shed light on debates on the origin of Japan?
Function: Reflection of viewer, Houses the spirit body of Amterasu the sun goddess whom the imperial family is directly descended from.
Symbolism: The circle represents heaven while the square represents earth.
Name: Bodhisattva of Compassion (Kannon), Hall of Dreams, Horyuji Temple
Date: Early 7th Century
Materials/Dimensions: Gilded camphor wood, 77 inches in height
Shape: Halo shape behind head (nimbus), almond shaped mandorla (body halo), column like due to the standing position of the figure
Ornament: gilded in gold, fluid/soft clothing
What is the relationship between this image and Prince Shotoku (the main patron of the Horyuji Temple)?
Function: This was a depiction of Prince Shotoku who saw himself as the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Symbolism: The hand gestures of the figure show the bodhisattva promotes healing.
Name: Shakyamuni Buddha by Tori Busshi, Horyuji Temple
Date: Dated to 623 by inscription
Materials/Dimensions: Gilded bronze, 46 inches in height
Shape: Almond shaped mandorla, Sitting position of the figure creates a pyramid shape
Ornament: Bronze casting, fluid fabrics, details
How does this image show the influence of the Mahayana school of Buddhism in Japan?
Function of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas: Both the buddhas and bodhisattvas were objects to worship but by worshipping them, they were actually worshipping the values and ideals they stood for. In this case they stand for generousity and to 'fear not'
Symbolism: the 7 buddhas on the mandorla symbolize the 7 earthly manifestations of Buddhahood
This was created after a few deaths in the court and Prince Shotoku's illenss to promote healing.
Name: Goddess of Prosperity (Kichijoten), Yakushiji (Medicine Buddha Temple)
Date: Late 8th Century, Nara Period
Materials/Dimensions: Painting in color on hemp cloth, 20 inches in height
Shape: Rounded figure
Ornament: flowing and fluid clothing, Chinese beauty ideals
How do the dimensions and apperance of this figure suggest the gender and social class of the original viewer?
Function: Shows what the woman wanted to be seen as -- the ideal beauty standards of the time
Symbolism: The clothing shows status and wealth while the jewel is the symbol of the diety.
Name: Portriat of the Poetess and Imperial Consort Yoshiko (lived in the 10th century)
Date: Late 12th Century, Heian Period
Materials/Dimensions: Painting in ink and color on paper, 11x20 inches
Shape: Angular figure
Ornament: Balanced asymmetry, Native Japanese aesthetic
How does this image show the development of a native Japanese aesthetic?
Function of hiding the human figure in abstract clothing: The clothing shows the figure's rank in court (more layers = higher rank) which was more important than showing the body
Symbolism of placing the portriat next to biography: The biography next to the portriat immortalizes the poet.