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magaibutsu@R
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Also written R. Ch: moyafo. Also known as magai sekibutsu RΕ or RΕ. A Buddhist image carved into the surface of natural rock such as a cliff face, a large rock, or a stone cave. The rock-face was first polished, and then the image was created with engraved lines *senkoku in low relief *ukibori or in high relief takanikubori . Clay was used to model details on the relief carving. Occasionally colors and gold leaf were applied. The surrounding rock was often hollowed out to form an alcove for the figure, so a deeply carved magaibutsu was sometimes known as *butsugan , meaning Buddha alcove and a cave temple large enough for people to enter was often referred to as sekkutsu jiin ΌA@ or sekkutsuji ΌA. Rock carving flourished in the Han, and Northern and Southern dynasties in China as well as in India, Afghanistan, and Korea. In Japan magaibutsu never formed the mainstream of Buddhist sculpture, but there are many surviving examples dating from the 7c to 14c. It has been pointed out that popular belief in the living spirit of rocks in Japan was combined with Buddhism and was expressed in magaibutsu. Examples can be found across the country, but Kyuushuu B has the greatest concentration of rock carvings, including the famous stone Buddhas in Usuki Pn, Ooita prefecture (11-12c). The images were carved on soft rock such as tuff, a rock formed by the consolidation of volcanic ash and tufa, a porous calcium carbonate rock found around mineral springs. The late Heian period was regarded as the peak of the magaibutsu, in Japan and Kamakura works were smaller in size, carved on hard stone such as granite, and often unpainted, leaving the natural stone surface. After the 14c, free-standing stone Buddhas *sekibutsu Ε became more popular, and fewer magaibutsu were made.
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