Buddhism Statue Craftsman History (Japan) #5

The site is located at the cross of Shichijo st. and Takakura ave. You can see old-fashioned building.
Shichijo Studio had been moved from here to Shijo-Karasuma during Muromachi period (14th – 16th century). So, this house is common house. Please don’t have behavior without thinking of anyone else.

We can’t conclude that Jocho had lived there. According to the records, Kakujo who is son of Jocho had lived there. The explanation plate is saying that Jocho is the father of Buddhism statue craftsman. However Kojo (teacher of Jocho) is called the father of craftsman among the experts.

Buddhism Statue Craftsman History (Japan) #4

#4 From Kamakura period (12th ? 14th century) to the present

Even if Kei group had the golden age in Kamakura period, other group didn’t vanish completely.
In the end of Kamakura period, Japan had got unstable, and the Imperial Court had been separated into two.
The early 14th century, Japan had got stable again by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Muromachi Bakufu the 3rd Shogun. And In group joined hands with new administrators, calm statues came back again.

From the latter of Muromachi period to Sengoku period (Warring states period, 15th -16th century), realistic statues came back again.

We have to know remarkable article during this period.
That is craftsman Shukuin. He appeared at Nara. He was a special in comparison with other craftsmen.
He was a carpenter, not a monk (other craftsmen were one of a monk (had a holy orders)).
He used Japanese cypress, and he didn’t color to statue (his works are all naked wooden statue).
And he sold statues at own store (other craftsmen made statues to order).

The name Shukuin was hereditary name, we found three persons had used this name for 80 years.
Almost current craftsmen’s style resemble to Shukuin. I mean, almost current craftsmen are not a monk. And their works are almost naked wooden statues.

After warring period, and Edo period had begun (17th ? 19th century), many statues and temples had been restored to its former condition by many craftsmen from coast to coast. Sometimes awful statue can be found, because hastily acquired craftsmen were increased.
On the other hand, unique and pretty statues also appeared by Enku and Mokujiki (they were a monk).

Current Japanese people have tendency to love naked wooden statues because we have a lot of chance to watch faded statues. However, I see colorful statues at old house. I guess people of Edo period has saw restored statues.

In 1868, Japan have become modernized nation. It’s Meiji period.
Meiji government adopted the principle of separation of government and religion, so new age and new wave approached to Buddhism statues (example for Buddhism statue with western methods, just a fine art statue with unbelieving and so on…). We can see various statues. Perhaps the present is reform times.

Buddhism Statue Craftsman History (Japan) #3

#3 the golden age of Kei group (Kamakura period)

In Heian period (8th ? 11th century), the center of Buddhism culture was Kyoto. Especially, Yen Group. They had produced statues from noble-class’ orders.

On the other hand, one craftsman had gone to Nara.
His name is Raijo. Unfortunately, the record of his actions have never remained, but we can find the record of Kocho who is grandson of Raijo. Kocho had the best pupul, Kokei.
They had put all their energies into produce statue, because many statues and temples have disappeared by Genpei war between Taira clan and Minamoto clan at Nara. Their statues were rich in originality.

At that time, Mappou Shisou (one of eschatology) prevailed in the years that he lived. Noble clung to Buddhism, they built temples.
And the same time, Hounen, Shinran, Dogen, Eisai and Nichiren are appeared, they put forward a new Buddhism (called Kamakura Buddhism). Buddhism changed from noble’s to common people’s.

After Genpei war, Japan had been ruled by Samurai. They liked realistic statues. For that reason, many realistic statues were produced. Kokei, Unkei, Kaikei and Tankei were appeared. It’s Kei Group. Their statues are popular still now.
Almost current craftsmen are following in their footsteps.

The hallmark of Kei group is realistic description (of human body). And using Gyokugan (crystal eyes).

Why they were watched? There are some reasons.
1. They could study structure of statues in detail, because their main work were ‘restoration’ at Nara.
2. They could get great chance to produce statues, because many statues disappeared by war.
3. Yen and In group had been hated from New administrator, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo (the first Shogun), because they joined hands with noble. Especially, Inson of In group produced statue to put a curse on Minamoto clan by Taila clan’s order.

Kei group got back to Shichijo studio at Kyoto. Kyoto became the Buddhism central city again by Kei group.

Buddhism Statue Craftsman History (Japan) #2

#2 Jocho & private studio years

Talking of Buddhism statue of Heian period, we recall “Jocho style”. Jocho (son of Kojo) had built an era. His remarkable service is establishment of Yosegi method (not carving from one timber, join some wooden parts together). And he had turned it into a style of Japanese tastes. Generally, it’s admired that the hallmark of his works are gently, soft and aristocratic statue.

A little come down in time, Chosei who is pupil of Jocho had had his studio at Kyoto Sanjo (called Sanjo Studio), and he had accepted many orders from noble-class. Chosei’s group is called Yen Group (because almost member had the sound of “Yen” to their name).

Further, Kakujo who is son of Jocho is key man. He had had his studio at Kyoto Shichijo (called Shichijo Studio), and he worked. His studio had survived than any other studios.

Raijo, pupil of Kakujo, went to Nara. It’s guessed that his main work was restoration of statues. Because Nara was not already the capital city and the center of Buddhism was Kyoto.

And Injo, son of Kakujo, had had his studio at Kyoto Shichijo-Omiya (called Shichijo-Omiya Studio), and they had produced Jocho style statues. Injo’s group is called In Group (because almost member had the sound of “In” to their name). They also joined hands with noble-class.

Incho who is son of Injo had had his studio at Kyoto Rokujo-Madenokoji (called Rokujo-Madenokoji Studio)


Pics;
(Left) genealogical table
(Right) representative Jocho’s work, Amida Nyorai (Amitabha)

仏支の会(はじめに)

(Sorry, this entry is only available in Japanese. But you can read about other category in English)
以前、別サイトで運営していた「仏支の会」ですが、サーバー移転時に一旦閉鎖しました。サーバーの引越しは完了しましたが、新しいサイトを構築するまでの間、当サイトの1カテゴリーとして再掲します。

この「仏支の会」は特に厳しい年齢制限は設けておりませんが、極力若手の「仏支」にスポットを当てて紹介していこうという趣旨で立ち上げたものです。
「会」と名乗っておりますが特に会費を徴収したり、定例会があったりするわけではありません。

◆きっかけ
仕事の関係で私はお坊さんや仏師さんと関わる機会が多いのですが、この両者間の交流はほとんどありません。特に交流を深める必要があるわけでもありませんが、そのためにお互いがお互いをよく分かっておらず、時にとんでもない事が起きることがあります。

実際にあった例
これは東北地方で活躍するある仏師から聞いた話ですが、東北地方のあるお寺で仏像の修復の必要が生じ、一番安い費用を提示した業者に修復を依頼したそうです。が、これがなんと!ビフォー・アフターを見比べるとまったく別物。原型をとどめない彩色、おまけにアクリル樹脂でコーティングしてしまうという代物(アクリルコーティングは確かに丈夫にしますが、一度傷がつくと一気にそこから白く霞んでしまいます)。これはお寺が仏師をよく知らなかったことで起きた出来事でした。この事態を見て「私に依頼してくれれば絶対こんな風にはしなかった・・・」と悔やむ仏師の声が今も耳に残っています。

そこで両者のやっていることを知る機会を作れれば、という思いで立ち上げました。

◆仏支のワケ
そうしてやっていくうちに、仏像だけでなく、それ以外の仏具も実はあまりよく知られていないということが分かり、仏像を彫る仏師だけでなく、仏具にかかわる他の職人の仕事も紹介しようと思い立ちました。つまり、仏教文化に関係すること全般です。

仏教を文化という側面で捉えた場合、その中心にいるのは紛れもなく僧侶です。しかし中心にお坊さんがいるだけでは成り立ちません。その周辺で文化を支える人たちが必要です。それが仏具職人や仏師、そして一番外側には私達一般人です。

そこで「仏教文化を支える人たち」という意味で「仏支」と致しました。

◆(比較的^^;)若手の紹介にしたワケ
仕事上「大仏師」と呼ばれる一流の職人さんともご縁を頂いております。大仏師になるまでには非常なご苦労があったことは容易に想像できます。しかし、大仏師になれば仕事はあります。問題はその弟子の世代です(20代後半~30代くらい)。彼らが2~30年後に第一線で活躍してくれないと困る頃、とても厳しい状況になっているのではないかと考えます(お寺の減少、熱心な檀信徒の減少など)。そこでこの辺の世代を紹介しようと思いました。

2,3年後に注目のピークを持ってこようとは考えていません。2~30年後も今ぐらいの仕事環境があること、を目標に時間をかけてやっていこうと思っています。

ただ、厳しい将来があるのは事実でしょう。上記のような厳しい環境や作風・人柄などによる自然淘汰は致し方ないことです。それこそ「自然」ですから。しかし、スタートラインに立つことなく誰にも知られず廃業する若手が出るのは避けたい。そう思います。
ここではそういう趣旨で紹介していくので、派閥争いや妬み等の声は一切無視します。
*仏支の紹介だけでなく、その理解の助けになりそうなことも書いていきます。ご了承下さい。