kondou 金銅
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also kondouzou 金銅造 (gilt bronze construction), kondouzou 金銅像 (gilt bronze statue), kondoubutsu 金銅仏 (gilt bronze Buddha). Gilt bronze. An object made of copper dou 銅 or bronze seidou 青銅 and gilded, either by coating with a thin layer of gold *tokin 鍍金 or applying gold leaf *hakuoshi 箔押. This technique prevented corrosion and gave the impression that the object was made of gold. Kondou was used on ceremonial vessels, Buddhist statues and altar fittings, architectural metal fittings and personal accessories. The Asuka and Nara periods are considered to have been the 'great age' of kondoubutsu in Japan. Gilt bronze images formed the mainstream of Japanese Buddhist statuary until the Heian period when they became less popular than wooden sculpture, although, in the Kamakura period they flourished again. The primary technique used to make bronze statues was the lost-wax technique, involving an inner clay model, sculpted wax layer, and outer clay mould which were fired and used for casting. See *rougata 蝋型. With the exception of some large state commissions, Asuka and Nara period figures tended to be small; a height of 30cm was common. During the Kamakura period casting from a clay mould constructed directly over a wooden model became more common. See *kigata imono 木型鋳物. An early technique of gilding known as amalgam gilding used an amalgam of gold and mercury, which was coated over the surface of a metal work, heated and fixed. This technique was found in ancient China in the Warring States period and was brought to Japan in the Kofun period, when it was used for horses' harnesses, armour, helmets, and sword decoration. With the coming of Buddhism gilt bronze was very widely used for Buddhist statues, and flourished in China in the Northern and Southern dynasties. The first Buddhist image brought to Japan from *Kudara 百済 (South Western Korean kingdom) in the reign of Emperor Kinmei 欽明 (539-571) is recorded in the NIHONSHOKI 日本書紀 to have been a gilt bronze statue. Gilding of the Buddha's body was not only a decorative technique, it also had religious significance, as one of the Buddha's 32 attributes is that he has golden skin, and that his body gleams with a beautiful golden tone. The 32 attributes *sanjuunisou 三十二相 of the Buddha originated in ancient Indian tradition and have remained constant and integral elements in Buddhist imagery. They denote the superhuman physical condition of the Buddha.

*douzou 銅像, *chuukin 鋳金, *nousashoutou 能作生塔

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