Horyu-ji Temple of the Flourishing Law "Despite the fact that Todaiji Temple with its Great Buddha gets all the glory, true seekers of Buddhist art and history head to the sacred grounds of Horyuji Temple with its treasures and ancient buildings." -- Frommer's Guide to Japan
<ul><li>Fast Facts: </li></ul><ul><li>Location: Ikaruga City, Nara </li></ul><ul><li>Founded 609 by Prince Regent Shotoku </li></ul><ul><li>Contains oldest wooden buildings on earth </li></ul><ul><li>First Japanese Buddhist Temple </li></ul><ul><li>Burned in 670 and was rebuilt before 710. </li></ul><ul><li>Buddha statue is of Yakushi Nyorai– “arrival as a healer” </li></ul><ul><li>Style inspired by Korean and Chinese architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Composed of the Western Precinct (Saiin Garan), centered around the Five-Story Pagoda (Goju-no-To) and the Main Hall (Kondo), and Eastern Precinct (Toin Garan), arranged around the Hall of Visions (Yumedono). </li></ul><ul><li>Example of architecture from Asuka era (A.C.E.—mid 6th-beginning of 8th c.) </li></ul>Horyu-ji Temple
Asuka Period <ul><li>Began at end of the 6th century and lasted about 100 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign powers influenced Japanese politics and culture complicated by relationships between Japan and the Far East Asian Tang Dynasty of China, Koryo of northern Korea and the Silla of southeastern Korea. </li></ul><ul><li>Japan gradually began to build a centralized government based on system from neighboring countries like Korea and especially China. </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhism, introduced to Japan around the middle of 6th century, was one of the most significant “outside” cultural concepts. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Some say: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Should (Horyu-ji) not be the architectural type-site for the Hakuho period rather than Asuka?” </li></ul><ul><li>Probably not: </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient buildings at Hōryū-ji show stylistic details that mark them as Asuka era structures. In fact, the majority of knowledge on Asuka era structures comes from Hōryū-ji. </li></ul>Asuka Period Architectural Elements
Asuka Period Architectural Elements <ul><li>These key features include: </li></ul><ul><li>entasis (slight curvature) of columnar elements </li></ul>
Asuka Period Architectural Elements <ul><ul><li>"cloud-pattern" bracket arms with cloud-shaped holes supporting roofs </li></ul></ul>
Asuka Period Architectural Elements <ul><ul><li>Swastika pattern railings </li></ul></ul>
Asuka Period Buddhas Their characteristics include marked, almond-shaped eyes, upward-turned crescent-shaped lips, and symmetrically arranged folds in the clothing. More later.
Horyu-ji <ul><li>Let’s walk and talk. </li></ul>
Horyu-ji Nandaimon South Main Gate <ul><li>Enter at the </li></ul><ul><li>South Main Gate . </li></ul><ul><li>After you pass through, cast your eyes </li></ul><ul><li>right </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>left . </li></ul>
Horyu-ji On both sides, behind these walls are the residences of the monks or high level clergy. Wonder what they are having for breakfast?
Horyu-ji This, the Central Gate, is one of the oldest buildings, one of the 690 ones. You can see that it is guarded by the Two Kings, or Nio on the right and left—one painted black, and the other red. I wonder if these guys are available for Middle School work? Notice the two bay opening.
Up close and personal The Chuman gate is characteristic of Asuka-period architecture. Notice the five pillars have a slight swelling in the middle. The central pillar divides the gate into two. The left entrance was for worshippers to enter, and the right side for the dead to depart to paradise.
Meet Ungyoh, the Guardian of Darkness. Notice his closed mouth—inhaling. This one is Agyoh, the Guardian of Light. His mouth is open or exhaling.
Next on our walk is #3, or The Cloister. Dr. Leavell says that “this is an example of architecture in its most basic form—post and lintel.” I believe Stonehenge used this method—a beam supported by two vertical posts. The Cloister
Five-Storied Pagoda This is the oldest existing pagoda. The wood was felled in 594 A.C.E. Goju-no, the pagoda, is a name meaning “mound-like reliquary”. So this building houses the remains of a Buddha or a saint. There’s an interesting statue is in the north alcove that depicts the Buddha entering nirvana watched by a small, quite realistic crowd—kind of like us.
Kondo--Golden Hall This is the oldest building—finished in 679. It houses some very famous murals. They are very dark (due to the fire?). This building is a good example of the “hipped and gabled” roof. See the next slide for examples of that. You will also see examples of the “cloud shaped” brackets as discussed earlier. There are also some other elements— “ frog crotch” supports and “mountain designs”. You don’t even want to know what I found when I googled frog crotch.
Hipped and Gabled Roofs Gabled Roof Hipped Roof Hipped and Gabled Roof
Kondo (Continued) Notice the “cloud-shaped” bracket above the sweating troll. Also notice how complicated the support structure is.
Kondo (Continued) The first story has a double roof—the second being added in the Nara Period (710-784). Extra posts were needed to hold the first roof as it extended over 4 meters past the building’s edge. The second story also has extra posts. Notice the ascending and descending dragons on them. You will notice the “cloud-shaped” bracket here. I have to keep on with that one to make up for not discussing the “frog crotch”.
Kondo (Continued) Inside the Kondo, #5 on our tour, is the Shaka Triad flanked by the bodhisattvas Wisdom and Compassion. Or they could be Shakyamuni’s favorite disciples.
Shaka Triad Shaka Nyorai, the Historical Buddha The Asuka Daibutsu is a bronze statue 2 m 75 cm high, thought to represent Shaka Buddha (the Historical Buddha). It is the oldest surviving Buddhist statue in Japan today, estimated to have been completed in the year +609. The statue sits on a stone pedestal in the cross-legged posture known as kekkafuza (“seat of good fortune," in which left foot rests on the right thigh and the right foot is folded on top and placed over the left thigh--outside link). Buddhist images of the Asuka Period were made primarily by artisans from Korea & China who lived in Japan. It was influenced by the Buddhist art of China's Northern Wei kingdom (late 4th to 6th centuries). Notice the elongated face and the shape of the eyes.
Yakushi Nyorai Healing Buddha To the right of the Shaka Triad is a single image done in exactly the same style. Yakushi, the Buddha of Healing and Medicine, is often shown holding a small jar of medicine in his left hand, while his right hand is in the mudra position meaning “No Fear.” This may be the oldest bronze Buddihist image in Japan.
<ul><li>Statues of the Yakushi Nyorai often look similar to those of the Historical Buddha) </li></ul><ul><li>for both are typically unadorned (simple clothing and posture), and with the right </li></ul><ul><li>hand held outward. </li></ul><ul><li>Nonetheless, </li></ul><ul><li>The fingers of Yakushi’s right hand are often slightly curled (a gesture that represents the granting of wishes). </li></ul><ul><li>In some Japanese sculpture, Yakushi's right hand forms the so-called Yakushi Triple World Mudra, known as the Yakushi Sangai-in in Japanese, in which the thumb touches either the index finger or middle finger. </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike images of Shaka, Yakushi usually (but not always) holds a sacred jewel or a jar of medicine in the left hand. In some traditions, the jar is said to contain a miraculous emerald that is capable of curing all sickness. Indeed, many of the Yakushi statues found throughout Japan were commissioned by sick people who were healed. This statue was commissioned by Prince Shotoku in hopes that it would cure is father, Emperor Yomei. The Emperor died before the image was complete, however. </li></ul>
Japanese Guardian Kings Shitennō (Four Heavenly Kings) Mid-7th Century. Oldest extant set of the four. Painted Wood, Each Statue Approx. 133.5 cm in Height Photos from Comprehensive Dictionary of Japan's National Treasures
I really can’t tell from this shot, but Dr. Leavell says, “At the four points of the compass the altar is guarded by a set of kings (shitenno). This is the oldest group of Japanese Guardian Four Kings I know about. They date from the Hakuho Period. Notice how they stand up rigidly straight, though each has a scholar’s slump (are those mutally inclusive?)*. Their faces are blank (!)* and rather childlike. This contrasts significantly with the drama and animation of guardian groupings created in later periods.” * Parentheses mine
Great Lecture Hall Daikodo Moving along to the back of the cloistered area is the Great Lecture Hall. (Number 6 on your map) I have good news and bad news. Good news is that the light is better here and you can get better pics of stuff. Bad news is none of them dates from Asuka period. Go figure. Entasis again
Inside the Horyu-ji Museum Tamamushi-zushi The Tamamushi-zushi is also called the Beetle wing Shrine, because iridescent beetle wings were placed beneath metal open-work used on the corners and base of the shrine as well as on the dais. It is a miniature structure 226.6cm high. It has a very high dais that supports the single-storied, ancient style, palace-like structure. The building is made of camphor and cypress wood. The roof is in the common hip-and-gable type. Carved cloud-patterned brackets supporting two cloud-patterned bearing blocks are placed fairly close to the ends of each tail rafter. On three sides are double-leafed doors. The interior and exterior of the miniature building, the rectangular base, and the platform-like base are all lavishly decorated with paintings, lotus petal mouldings and embossed figures of Buddhas. This decoration is also found on the interior walls and the inside of the doors. Tamamushi-zushi
Inside the Horyu-ji Museum Guse Kannon This is the earliest extant wooden statue in Japan (first half 7th century). Guze is also a name used for sculptures of the Asuka period, specifically for sculptures of a crowned Bodhisattva holding a jewel. 620 AD or so Height 178.8 cm Made from single block of Camphor wood with Gold leaf applied over surface. Coronet and other details made from gilt bronze. Reportedly the image of Prince Shoutoku—”the superstar of the Asuka period.
Hall of Dreams Yumedono Yumedono is one of the few octagonal chapels remaining in Japan. It is built on the ground which was once Prince Shōtoku's private palace, Ikaruga no miya . This hall was built in 739. The hall also sometimes contains the famous Yumedono (Guze) Kannon.