shoumen kanshousei 正面観照性
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
The form of a work of art made for contemplation from the front. This style is often found in Japanese Buddhist sculpture from the Asuka period, particularly figures of the Tori School (the sculptor Kuratsuki no Tori 鞍作止利 and his followers), which are characterized by their flatness. Considerations of depth were ignored because the statues are intended to be seen only from the front. A good example is the Shaka sansonzou 釈迦三尊像 in Houryuuji *Kondou 法隆寺金堂, Nara. All the statues face forward with no sense of movement, and the central figure is flattened at the back, with a halo fixed directly onto the back of the head. Likewise the two attendant figures are not filled out at the back, but are made from an embossed metal plate, hammered out like a repousse image. See *oshidashibutsu 押出仏. The statues are shallow and the arms are extremely short. This type of front-worshipped icon appears in various ancient carvings around the world; the Tori style in Japan is derived directly from Buddhist images carved in rock faces *magaibutsu 磨崖仏 in China during the 1st-6c.

*sanzonbutsu 三尊仏

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