hiten 飛天
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Flying apsaras. Heavenly beings invisible to the human eye, believed to fly with superhuman power and speed. Found in Middle-eastern, Indian, Chinese and Japanese art. Buddhist depictions show apsaras flying over Buddha's pure land, praising Buddha by scattering flowers, playing instruments *gakuten 楽天, or burning incense. Important Japanese examples of apsaras include the wall paintings in Houryuuji *Kondou 法隆寺金堂 (rebuilt 693) Nara, openwork sculptures on the nimbus *hiten kouhai 飛天光背 of the Amida Nyoraizou 阿弥陀如来像 in Byoudouin *Hououdou 平等院鳳凰堂 (1053) Kyoto, and wall paintings in Houkaiji 法界寺(13-14c) Kyoto.


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