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OCTUBRE 18

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The Religious Influence



Buddhism had an important role in the development of Japanese art between the sixth and the sixteenth centuries. Buddhist art and religion came to Japan from China, with the arrival of a bronze Buddhist sculpture alongside the sutras. Buddhist art was encouraged by Crown Prince Taishi in the Suiko period in the sixth century and Emperor Shomu in the Nara period in the eighth century. In the early Heian period Buddhist art and architecture greatly influenced the traditional Shinto arts, and Buddhist painting became fashionable among the wealthy class. The Amida sect of Buddhism provided the basis for many artworks, such as the bronze Great Buddha at Kamakura in the thirteenth century.

Many of the great artists during this Kamakura period were Buddhist monks, and Buddhist art became popular among the masses with scroll paintings, paintings used in worship and paintings of saints, hells and other religious themes. Under the Zen sect of Buddhism, portraiture of priests became popular. However, Zen had less use for religious images and by the mid sixteenth century most painting in Japan was of landscapes and secular themes.

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