shingi 心木
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A wooden core, used inside a clay or lacquer statue, or when casting a metal statue. It served as a support or as an aid to construction. In its broadest sense the word shingi also included metal wire or pins used to support protruding parts like fingers and sections of drapery. The shingi took a variety of forms; it might be pillar-like, or carved approximately to the shape of the statue. Sometimes it was made from a single-piece of wood, and sometimes assembled from several pieces. A single-piece core was generally used for clay statues and wood-core dry lacquer figures *mokushin kanshitsu 木心乾漆, while a composite core was used for hollow dry lacquer statues *dakkatsu kanshitsu 脱活乾漆. In the latter case, thin pieces of wood were joined to make a kind of light-weight frame which supported the lacquer surface. In the late Nara period the wooden interior of wood-core dry lacquer statues was carved to a considerable degree of precision, and lacquer used to model only minor surface details. This development provided a stepping stone in the move from Nara period lacquer images to statues made of wood, which became the most important material in the Heian period.

*sozou 塑造, *kanshitsu 乾漆, *douzou 銅像, *chuuzou 鋳造 

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