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sekibutsu@Ε
KEY WORD :@architecture / general terms
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Lit. stone Buddha. A Buddhist image made in rock or stone. The term sekizou Α or "carving from stone" was used to indicate the material of a sculptured work. Sekibutsu were divided broadly into two groups:

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@*Magaibutsu R; Buddhist images carved on large rock outcrops, cliffs, or in caves. Caves carved with Buddhist images which were large enough for people to enter and used as temples were specifically called sekkutsu jiin ΌA@ (cave temple).

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A free-standing, movable statue carved from stone. Carving a work from a single block of stone was called isseki-zukuri Α. Sometimes a single figure or group statue was carved out of a single block of stone, but sometimes several blocks were joined. Stone was the chief material used for Buddhist images in China and India, whilst in Japan stone statues have never challenged the dominance of wood and bronze because appropriate stone materials were not so readily available. Nevertheless, examples dating from the 7c on can be found over a very wide area of the country. Mainly soft rocks such as tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) and tufa (porous calcium carbonate rock) were used until the 12c, but thereafter hard rocks such as granite came to be used. The oldest known sekibutsu in Japan is the Buddha triad sansonzou O in Ishiidera Έʎ (Nara ; late 7c); the central figure and two attendants were carved out of a single block of stone in an intermediate level of relief hannikubori . Another well-known example is the 8c bodhisattva *bosatsu F group called zutou (Nara); 13 figures were carved in low relief *usunikubori on a single stone block. There are a few other examples dating from the 9c in the Nara, and after the 10c large-scale rock and cliff carvings were produced over a very wide area of Japan. Famous examples of magaibutsu include those in Usuki Pn (Ooita prefecture; 11c-12c), Ooya J (Tochigi prefecture.; 11c-12c), Izumisawa (Fukushima prefecture) as well as the Fudou s at Nissekiji Ύ (Toyama prefecture.; 12c). It is speculated that stone statues suddenly became popular because their durable quality suited the mood of the "end of the world" belief mappou shisou @vz prevalent in the 10th to early 11c. The 13c production of sekibutsu once again focused sculpture production on much smaller-scale works, and with the exception of the group stone carvings at Hakone (Kanagawa prefecture.) no magaibutsu carvings were produced. However, numerous, small-scale free-standing stone statues related to regional popular faith, such as *Jizou n, *Shoumen Kongou –ʋ, or local Shinto deities *Shintou bijutsu _p, were produced and placed at the outskirts of a village to ward off evil and sickness. Many such statues can still be seen today on roadsides.
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