sozou 塑造
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also sozou 塑像, shouzou 摂像, deizou 泥像. Formerly also called *ten 捻, *shou 摂. Clay statue. There were two main techniques of clay statuary used in Japan. In one technique a simple wooden core was wrapped in straw or cloth, and this was then thickly coated with clay. Often two or three types of clay were used, the first being a rough clay and the others successively finer. The inner rough clay was known as *aratsuchi 荒土, and contained straw fibres and rice husks. This was then covered with another clay layer, nakatsuchi 中土: a clay mixed with cloth fibres and paper fibres. This formed the basic shape of the statue. The outer layer was then modelled with a fine-grained clay known as shiagetsuchi 仕上土, containing plant fibres. Glue was sometimes mixed in to increase the viscosity of the clay. The figure was then coated with gold leaf *shippaku 漆箔 or painted. In the second technique the wooden core was carved into the rough shape of the desired figure, and this was then covered with a thin layer of clay. There were many variations; the wooden core was sometimes a solid carved block, or sometimes a framework of wooden ribs joined together to support the clay exterior. Clay statuary techniques were brought to Japan from China in the Hakuhou period and flourished in Japan during the Nara period. Clay allowed very detailed modelling, and was therefore suitable for the realistic style of Nara period sculpture. Production was virtually discontinued after this period, possibly because of the fragile nature of the material. A new wave of Chinese influence from the Sung dynasty in the Kamakura period caused a revival of clay statuary in Japan, but Kamakura works differed in style and technique from those of the Nara period.


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