suihotsu 垂髪
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also suihatsu. Lit. hanging hair. Long hair gathered into two sections which hang down behind the ears. The hairstyle is found on *bosatsu 菩薩 and *ten 天 images. Forms differed according to the period: in the Asuka period strands of hair hung down symmetrically in line with the shoulders and curled at the tips (see *warabidegata 蕨手形 ); in the early Nara period, the bunches of hair were divided at the shoulders, and fell in a soft, wavy pattern, as in the Kumen Kannonzou 九面観音像 (wood), Houryuuji Houzouden 法隆寺宝蔵殿, Nara. There was a general trend in each period to adopt shorter hairstyles: Asuka period hair reached the elbows; in the Nara period, it tended to fall to the upper arm; and by the late Heian period it was just shoulder-length. On wooden statues, long hair was sometimes carved from the same block as the main figure, and sometimes separate pieces were fixed with glue. Other techniques included attaching bronze strips of hair to a statue, or simply painting it onto the figure. In the Kamakura period, hanging hair was usually carved separately and attached. In the Juuichimen Senju Kannonzou 十一面千手観音像, Renge-ouin 蓮華王院 (Sanjusangendou 三十三間堂), Kyoto, two horizontal bands of hair are wound around the vertical strands. This achieved a decorative effect, and was also used as a technical device to strengthen the hanging strands, as separate pieces were liable to break.


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