Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The big statue of Buddha and Todaiji - World Heritage

Todaiji, a temple complex in the city of Nara in Nara Prefecture, was built in the year 743. At that time Buddhism was at its height, and served as a state religion. The best-known relic at Todaiji Temple is its Daibutsu, a colossal statue that, with 15 meters (49 feet) in height, is the world's largest gilded bronze Buddha. It is housed in an all-wood building, the Daibutsu-den, 48 meters (157 feet) in height, the largest wooden building in the world. Within the precincts of the temple, aligned along one-kilometer north-south and east-west axes centered on the Daibutsu-den, are an array of other buildings, including halls and storehouses, seven of which are National Treasures. By virtue of being one of the major historical temples in Japan, Todaiji Temple also possesses many valuable cultural artifacts. More than 20 of these Buddhist statues and other works of art are National Treasures. The repository for them, Shosoin, lives up its name of the Treasure House of the World.

Since it was built in 749, the Daibutsu has been repaired and renovated after damage incurred by earthquakes: even its head has fallen off once. The base of the statue that remains today dates from the 8th century, while the upper portion, including the head, was largely recast in the second half of the 12th century. Tragedy also befell the buildings housing it, especially the flames of war. After one burning in the second half of the 16th century the Daibutsu stood unsheltered for a century until the current Daibutsu-den was built in 1692. The most recent Daibutsu-den built in 1709, although impressive, is a shadow of the original structure, the width being about 30 percent shorter.

Also built around the middle of the 8th century, the original Shosoin, which is an architectural treasure in itself, served as the repository for the temple treasure. It is made in the Azekura style, a log-house construction that is often seen in old storehouses: the walls, intersecting at corners, are built up of hewn logs laid horizontally on top of each other. Shosoin safeguarded a heritage of around 9,000 different objects that date back to the 7th and 8th centuries, and most of them are well-preserved, so they can be attributed and accurately dated. Numerous articles were presented from overseas, especially from Persia, China, and Korea. The artifacts give a flavor of the cosmopolitan culture of China in the T'ang dynasty (618-907), when there was contact between the civilizations of Asia along the Silk Road (the overland trade routes from China to the Mediterranean in premodern times). It is for this reason that Shosoin's significance extends beyond Japan and that it is called the Treasure House of the World.

Nara national museum will The 58th Annual Exhibition of SHOSOIN tresure from Oct.24th to Nov 12th.
There will be 13 first-time exhibits out of 68 ofjects this time.

Don't miss it!!

Photos: (Top) The Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple ; (Bottom) Daibutsu-den, the pavilion that houses the Great Buddha, is the largest wooden building in the world.

YOKOSO to NARA! Feel historical and cultural old capital here!



Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The ancient capital -HEIJOKYO -World Heritage

Nara was the glorious capital, "like a fragrant flower in full bloom," as an ancient poet once described it. Nara was the cradle of the great Japanese arts and the essence of culture in the long-ago Tempyo Period. The old, world-famous temples anshrines of the province of Yamato (presently Nara Prefecture) have handed down to us their precious history.
The palace was called "HEIJOKYO", remained as "HEIJOKYUSEKI" about 3km west from Nara park or Todaiji.

Among others, the cathedrals of Todaiji, Kofukuji, Yakushiji, Toshodaiji and the Kasuga Grand Shrine are settings where one can encounter the rich, elegant ambience of the Tempyo Culture.  As you go through the corridors, and glance at the tiled roofs of these cathedrals, the Tempyo Culture will make you forget all about time and space, and will whisper to you about the old days of well over a thousand years as though they were yesterday.

In the year 2010, HEIJOKYO will reach its 1300th anniversaly.
We will organize a year through festival called "1300 NENSAI" and welcome people from all over the world by making as museums everywhere.

-Don't miss it!!

YOKOSO to NARA! Feel historical and cultural old capital here!