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Article

Enkai  

Japanese, 11th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 11th century.

Sculptor.

Enkai was a Buddhist monk from Mount Shigi near Nara. He was one of the first ­sculptors to use the yosegi (joined-wood) style of carving, whereby monumental sculp­- tures were made from several different blocks of wood that had been carved separately and then put together. Until that time, these large wooden figures had been carved using the ichiboku technique, meaning out of a single block of wood. Enkai’s famous seated statue of ...

Article

Enku  

Japanese, 17th century, male.

Born c. 1628, in Gifu Prefecture; died 1695, in Miroku-ji temple, Gifu Prefecture.

Monk-sculptor.

Little is known about the birthplace and life of Enku, a Tendai Buddhist monk, except that he travelled the country widely, sculpting on popular demand, and that his works are in fact a form of devotion. The immense amount of work he produced (he vowed to produce 120,000 pieces) stands apart from traditional Buddhist sculpture of the time. His prolific output was fired by a deep faith; he worked with great speed using a billhook and knife, taking into account the veins in the wood in order to respect its true nature. His works exude an undeniable serenity. They are to be found in numerous temples, most particularly in the regions of Mino and Hida (Gifu province) where he often stayed, but also on the northern island of Hokkaido, where he was to be found between ...

Article

Genkei  

Japanese, 17th – 18th century, male.

Born 1648, in Kyoto; died 1710.

Sculptor, monk.

After having been a sculptor of Buddhist statues in Kyoto, Genkei became a monk in 1669, at the age of 21, and a disciple of Tetsugen Zenji. He then went on a long preaching tour of Japan during which he conceived the vast project of carving statues of the Rakan (the Arhats, or disciples of the Buddha). He went to Edo (now Tokyo) to seek the assistance of Tetsugyu Osho, a priest of the Gufuku-ji at Ushima, through whose good offices he was permitted to stay at the monastery attached to the Senso-ji (Asakusa-dera) at Edo. There, at the beginning of the Genroku period (...

Article

Injo  

Japanese, 11th century, male.

Died 1108.

Sculptor.

Injo, a Buddhist sculptor, is said to be the son of Kakujo or Chosei and the grandson of Jocho, a great sculptor who died in 1057. He was therefore part of an important line of artists who formed one of the two main currents of Buddhist art at the beginning of the Heian period. He is considered the founder of the Shichijo Omiya studio in Kyoto, where he continued to work, with his numerous assistants, in the style of Jocho. It was probably for this reason that he received the honorary title of ...

Article

Injo  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Injo was a Buddhist sculptor who received the title of Hoin (an ecclesiastical title conferred on sculptors). In 1295, he executed the Jizo Bosatsu (Sanskrit: Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha) of the Umegahata cemetery in Kyoto....

Article

Inkaku  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 12th century.

Sculptor.

Inkaku, a Buddhist artist in the line of Jocho who died in 1057, worked in the Shichijo Omiya studio, founded in Kyoto by Injo, who died in 1108. He is said to be the sculptor of the statue of the Amida Buddha (Sanskrit: Amithaba Buddha) in the Hokongo-in monastery in Kyoto, dated ...

Article

Inken  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the beginning of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inken, the son of Incho, was a Buddhist sculptor at the beginning of the Kamakura period. He was a member of the In School, founded by the sculptor Inson in Kyoto. In the twelfth month of ...

Article

Inno  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inno was a Buddhist sculptor and holder of the title of Hokkyo (‘bridge of the law’, an ecclesiastical title conferred on sculptors). On the first day of the eleventh month of ...

Article

Inshin  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inshin was considered a Buddhist master sculptor ( dai busshi). From the twelfth month of 1251, he took part in the preparations for the assembling of the Buddhist statues in the Kofuku-ji temple in Nara. In ...

Article

Inshu  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inshu was considered a Buddhist master sculptor ( dai busshi). He bore the honorary title of Ho-in (‘seal of the law’, the highest of the Buddhist ecclesiastical titles conferred on an artist). He took part in the restoration of the statues in the reading room of the Kofuku-ji temple in Nara. In ...

Article

Inson  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Born 1120; died 1198.

Sculptor.

Inson was the son or disciple of Inkaky, and is the principal representative of one of the two main currents of Buddhist sculpture at the end of the Heian (or Fujiwara) period and at the beginning of the Kamakura period. He was the founder of the In, or In-pa School, known as Shichijo Omiya Bussho. He spent his life as an artist, being particularly active between ...

Article

Myoen  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Active in the Nara region.

Died 1199.

Sculptor.

Myoen was the son of Chuen and the principal sculptor of the En School of Buddhist sculpture, which was contemporary with the In School at the end of the Fujiwara period in Nara and Kyoto. Myoen’s En School is also known as the Sanjo Bussho (the Sanjo Buddhist Sculpture Workshop), because Myoen lived in the Sanjo quarter of Kyoto. He bore the title ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1923, in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Sculptor. Monuments.

Nagare Masayuki began his studies under the aegis of a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. He subsequently took courses in applied traditional arts at Ritsumeikan University in Japan and became an apprentice to a sword manufacturer. He produced many sculptures for public places in Japan and the USA, notably in New York, San Francisco and Minneapolis....

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1894, in Shizuoka (Kyuchu Island).

Painter, sculptor. Religious subjects.

Sawada Masahiro obtained a diploma from the department of sculpture at the University of Fine Arts in Tokyo. He specialised in Buddhist sculpture working mainly for the temples. From 1921 his work appeared in many group and individual exhibitions in Tokyo....

Article

Japanese, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 19 March 1852, in Edo (Tokyo); died 10 October 1934, in Tokyo.

Sculptor. Buddhist subjects. Wood carving, bronze and metalwork.

Takamura Koun exhibited in Paris including at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, where he received a bronze medal. He sought to preserve the art of traditional Japanese wood carving....

Article

Tankai  

Japanese, 17th – 18th century, male.

Born 1629; died 1716 or 1718.

Sculptor.

Edo period.

The founder of the Hozan-ji temple in Nara Prefecture, Tankai made a considerable number of Buddhist statues, of which the Fudo Myoo (Acala or Acalanatha, the Immutable) statues in Horyu-ji, preserved in the Toshodai-ji, Nara, are a representative example. Unlike most of his professional contemporaries, who made up for a lack of talent with an excess of technical skill, Tankai produced work remarkable for its power....

Article

Unjo  

Japanese, 12th – 13th century, male.

Active in Nara at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

The sixth son of the sculptor Unkei (d. 1223), Unjo was a sculptor of Buddhist subjects who had the title of Hokkyo (bridge of the law), a religious title granted to lay artists. During the Kenkyu period (...

Article

Chinese, 8th century, male.

Active in Chang’an during the Tang dynasty in the first half of the 8th century.

Painter, sculptor. Murals.

Yang Huizhi sculpted clay landscapes and Buddhist figures, and painted frescoes.