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busshi@•§Žt
KEY WORD :@art history / sculptures
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Also bukkou •§H, zoubusshi ‘¢•§Žt. A sculptor of Buddhist statues. The term was first used in the Asuka period when sculptors such as Kuratsukuri no Tori ˆÆìŽ~—˜ received commissions from the Imperial court and nobility. His signature, 'Tori Busshi' Ž~—˜•§Žt, appears on the 623 halo of the Shaka sanzonzou Žß‰ÞŽO‘¸‘œ in Houryuuji *Kondou –@—²Ž›‹à“°, Nara. In the late 7c, government-sponsored workshops *zoubussho ‘¢•§Š, were established to produce Buddhist statues, and each busshi belonged to a workshop. As the number and size of commissions increased, there was a division of labour where skills became increasingly specialized. There were busshi expert in woodcarving; metal-casting; painting of statues *saishiki busshi ÊF•§Žt; jewellery *kazaribusshi éR•§Žt; and gold-plating *hakushi ”–Žt. The sculptor in charge of the workshop was known as the *daibusshi ‘啧Žt or zoubutsu choukan ‘¢•§’·Š¯, and the team of assistants working under him were called *shoubusshi ¬•§Žt. An example is the daibusshi Kuninaka no Kimimaro ‘’†Œö–ƒ˜C (?-774), who supervised the building of the 757 Great Buddha *Daibustu ‘啧 at Toudaiji “Œ‘厛 in Nara. In the late 8c the government-sponsored sculpture workshops were closed down, and busshi were either employed by a temple or ran their own independent workshops *bussho •§Š. Sculptors associated with temple workshops were also monks, and from the 9c daibusshi were given the status of high-priest. They did not carry out religious duties, but held an honorary title that indicated their high social standing. For example, Eri Souzu ‰ï—‘m“s (852-935) was the chief sculptor and high-priest at Touji “ŒŽ› in Kyoto. From the middle of the Heian period, most Buddhist sculpture was carved in wood, and people often referred to Buddhist sculptors as wood sculptors *kibusshi –Ø•§Žt. The joined-block technique *yoseki-zukuri Šñ–Ø‘¢, used for large wooden statues in the late Heian period required a large workforce, and a daibusshi sometimes had several hundred assistants. The most important busshi to set up independent workshops in the 10c were Koushou N® (11c) and his son Jouchou ’è’© (?-1057), who reportedly had 120 shoubusshi working for them. The Jouchou style *Jouchouyou ’è’©—l--typified by Amida Nyoraizou ˆ¢–í‘É”@—ˆ‘œ (1053) in Byoudouin *Hououdou •½“™‰@–P™€“°, Kyoto--greatly influenced subsequent generations of sculptors. Followers of Jouchou later divided into groups that included the Nara sculptors *nara busshi “Þ—Ç•§Žt, based at Koufukuji ‹»•ŸŽ›, and various schools of Kyoto sculptors *kyoto busshi ‹ž“s•§Žt. In the Muromachi period, busshi lost their special status and came to be classed as general artisans. The system of daibusshi and shoubusshi was abandoned in the early Meiji period. A number of Buddhist sculptors worked without affiliation to a temple and sometimes without a workshop or assistants. The best known cases are the wandering busshi, Enkuu ‰~‹ó (1633-95) and Mokujiki Myouman –ؐH–¾–ž (1718-1810). Enkuu's works, roughly carved from single blocks of wood, have a directness that is totally different from the refined works of traditional workshop busshi.
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