Hakuhou jidai 白鳳時代
KEY WORD : art history / general terms
The Hakuhou period (645-710) Referred to in recent scholarship as the Late Asuka period, Asuka jidai kouki 飛鳥時代後期. The term Hakuhou (white phoenix) is thought to have been first used in 1910 at the Japan-Britain Exposition, Nichi-Ei Daihakurankai 日英大博覧会 because of its sonority and beautiful nuances, and became widely accepted thereafter. It must be noted that most American and some Japanese scholars consider the same time span to be the Early Nara period, Nara jidai zenki 奈良時代前期 because the artistic works of the period show stylistic characteristics which are direct precursors of the following Nara period *Nara jidai 奈良時代. Many Japanese scholars think that the period should not be included in the Nara period, because the Fujiwara 藤原 capital was still in Yamato 大和 (the general area which included Asuka), and did not move to Nara until 710. The Hakuhou period was marked by the rapid expansion of Buddhism and its dissemination throughout Japan. The number of temples increased ten-fold during this time; the most important surviving examples being Yakushiji 薬師寺 which was actually founded in the Hakuhou period but moved and rebuilt in Nara, Heijoukyou 平城京 in 710, and Houryuuji 法隆寺. The paintings and sculptures within these two temples likewise exemplify the Hakuhou style. The four Guardian Kings *Shitennou 四天王 of wood with gold leaf and paint at Houryuuji are carved in the columnar style of the Northern Qui dynasty. The wooden Kudara Kannon 百済観音 (Great Treasure House, Houryuuji ) shares some of the same stylistic components, although it does not project the same sense of volume as the Guardian Kings; its gentle curves suggest a more naturalistic treatment of the body. The bronze *Yakushi 薬師 image and the two attendants *Nikkou Gakkou 日光 月光 in Yakushiji Kondou 金堂 are full, fleshy figures in the manner of early Tang Chinese sculpture.

*Asuka jidai 飛鳥時代

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