AP®︎/College Art History
Ancient temples of Nara Japan
Explore Nara's ancient Buddhist art and architecture. Learn more about Buddhism in Japan on the Asian Art Museum's education website. Created by Asian Art Museum.
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- Why does the pagoda have 5 stories? Wouldn't the architects want a nice even number or something?(5 votes)
- 5 stories represent 5 elements make up our world in Japanese Buddhism.
5 elements are earth,water,fire,wind,sky.
- Why are the eaves or the temples sticking out way more than the building itself?(3 votes)
- The eaves were made that large to give the interior dimness, which contributes to the temples atmosphere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_temples_in_Japan(3 votes)
- At2:25there some massive guardian figures.
Who exactly are these figures?(1 vote)
- They are Buddha's guardians, Niō
- Those deer must be tamed to just be that calm. Is that the case?(2 votes)
- They are calm, until they decide, you have something to eat for them. Then they tend to be a bit aggressive, so if you ever go to Nara, be careful. The park is full with them and while they won't attack at once, they can kick or bite you. Especially if you have any food on you or bought the deer cookies from the street vendors.(3 votes)
- At around0:43he said that this was founded by Prince Shoutoku in the seventh century.
Does he mean the seventh century B.C or A.D?(2 votes)
- Seventh Century A.D. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Sh%C5%8Dtoku
Usually, in videos/podcasts/lectures/literature made by historical societies and museums, the speaker or author will only specify when talking about events during B.C.E., for future notice.(2 votes)
- What did the temple have and what was it used for because some temples were used during feudal Japan for war and some where used to protect, so different temples were used for different purposes.(1 vote)
- Does anyone know why the reconstructed Todaiji Temple is not as large as the one constructed under Emperor Shomu?(1 vote)
- I'm guessing they ran out of materials(1 vote)
- At2:25, are guardian figures like there exclusive to Japanese Buddhism?(1 vote)
- I believe so, as I think those are the only of their kind(1 vote)
- imagen that you was in the vidioo(1 vote)
- At1:41, what materials did they use to make the halo?(1 vote)
[Music] each year millions of tourists and pilgrims visit Nara the ancient capital of Japan they come to see the oldest surviving wooden temple structures in the world containing a treasure trove of early Buddhist art the temple known as Horry oh gee near Nara was founded in the seventh century by Prince Shotoku an early champion of Buddhism in Japan fires destroyed these buildings in 670 and the entire complex was reconstructed in 710 the oldest surviving buildings here include a five-story pagoda an image hall an inner corridor and gate the Japanese sought to match the cosmopolitan style and grandeur of the official and religious architecture of China and Korea the incorporated imported features such as the use of tiled roofs and bracketing to support wide overhanging eaves inside the image Hall is a famous Buddhist triad according to an inscription on the back of the halo it was commissioned as an offering for Prince Shotoku who became ill and died just before it was completed todaiji or the Great Eastern temple was commissioned by the Emperor sho mu several decades later it was built at great expense to house an enormous bronze statue of the cosmic Buddha associated with the Sun visitors approach the temple through a deer park a reference to the Deer Park in sarnath India where the Buddha preached his first sermon passing through the first gate one is confronted by massive guardian figures the temple was inaugurated in a huge ceremony in 752 witnessed by dignitaries from many parts of the Buddhist world the temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries a bronze Lantern survives from the original site but the main hall dates from 1709 and is only two-thirds the size of the original even so it is still the largest wooden structure in the world under one roof [Music] the Great Buddha inside has also been restored many times several bronze petals surviving from the original Lotus throne can be seen below the present statue Bodhisattvas and guardian figures are positioned on each side within the grounds of todaiji is a smaller sub temple that preserves an intact version of a Buddhist altar from the middle of the eighth century known as sangat pseudo or Hokkaido it contains a stunning image of a multi-armed bodhisattva called ken known in japan flanked by several other deities and guardian figures the mixture of peaceful and warlike figures makes an unforgettable tableau two figures seen here at the Asian Art Museum were once part of a similar altar arrangement in another temple in Nara known as Banton anti-shock Outen they were made using the same dry lacquer technique used to make the statue of Kannan and probably accompanied a similar figure they are among the rare examples of Nara period sculpture outside of Japan [Music] you you