Artistic Shifts During the The Kamakura Period

698 Words Feb 18th, 2018 3 Pages
Stylistic influence from China’s Song Dynasty was apparent and realistic portrait sculpture also developed at this time.
The Kamakura Period in Japan existed between 1192-1333 C.E. It began when Minamoto Yoritomo emerged victorious from the civil war that had plagued the country for years. Instead of claiming the throne himself, he created the title of Shogun meaning “great general”. While the shoguns were to serve the emperors in theory, they held the true power from where they ruled in Kamakura. This also caused a shift in Buddhism itself. Previously, it had been the religion of the aristocracy, but the Kamakura period saw the rise of several new forms of Buddhism that were accessible to all social classes. Artistically, sculptural works were predominantly created out of wood and occasionally bronze, and a new school of Buddhist sculpture called the Kei School, which had a greater emphasis on realism, rose to dominance.
The Kei School rose to prominence under a very important sculptor of the early Kamakura period named Unkei. Unkei was the son of the successful sculptor Kokei. His style strove to be more realistic than sculptors of previous eras. He was commissioned, along with fellow sculptor Kaikei, by the shogunate to produce statues of the Heavenly Kings for the Tōdaiji Temple. These statues showcased his realistic and…

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