ukibori 浮彫
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Formerly known as hanshutsuzou 半出像. A relief, or a method used to carve a relief on a flat surface. Halfway between a carving in the round *marubori 丸彫 and a line engraving *senkoku 線刻. The design projects from the background, giving the name ukibori or floating sculpture. Ukibori carved with a higher level of relief are called takanikubori 高肉彫, takaukibori 高浮彫 or atsunikubori 厚肉彫, and those with a lower level of relief are called *usunikubori 薄肉彫. Those with an intermediate level of relief are called hannikubori 半肉彫.
Very early versions of ukibori are found in the wall decoration of tombs kofun 古墳 from the Kofun period. After the introduction of Buddhism, ukibori was frequently used for patterns on tiles, the backs of mirrors, and the halos of Buddhist statues. In the Asuka and Nara periods, ukibori was used on a number of materials, and superb examples have been preserved. These include Buddhist images on clay tiles *senbutsu せん仏, Buddhist images hammered in relief on bronze plaques *oshidashibutsu 押出仏, and stone Buddhas *sekibutsu 石仏. Ukibori continued to flourish throughout the Heian and Kamakura periods but then ceased to develop, with the exception of applications in architectural decoration.


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