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Kamakura Period Japan Art


  • The Kamakura period is widely regarded as a renaissance era in Japanese sculpture, spearheaded by the sculptors of the Buddhist Kei school.
  • In 1185, Minamoto no Yorimoto proclaimed himself the Shogun (military dictator) of the country and moved the seat of government to Kamakura, a small village in Eastern Japan that gives its name to this historical period.
  • Of particular interest here is the Japanese self-identification as "feminine," as opposed to the "masculine" Chinese models: we repeatedly encounter with such binary distinction of "masculine" vs. "feminine" in Heian art, the implication of which would shift in the late Heian/Kamakura period.
  • Although the imperial court in Heian continued to claim authority, Kamakura was the seat of the warrior government known as the Kamakura bakufu, which dominated the political life of Japan during the period.
  • In the early years of the Edo period, before the full impact of Tokugawa policies had been felt, some of Japan's finest expressions in architecture and painting were produced: Katsura Palace in Kyoto and the paintings of Tawaraya Sōtatsu, pioneer of the Rimpa school.
  • 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.
  • While most Japanese temples of the period were arranged like their Chinese and Korean prototypes--with the main gate, a pagoda, the main hall, and the lecture hall all in a straight line--the reconstructed Hōryū-ji breaks from those patterns by arranging the Kondō (main hall) and pagoda side-by side in the courtyard.
  • During the Kamakura period (1185-1333) when this sculpture was made, buddhist sculpture reached its most expressive point in Japan.







Kamakura Period Japan Map


  • The Kamakura period ( 鎌倉時代, Kamakura jidai, 1185-1333) is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura by the first shōgun, Minamoto no Yoritomo.
  • In 1185, Minamoto no Yorimoto proclaimed himself the Shogun (military dictator) of the country and moved the seat of government to Kamakura, a small village in Eastern Japan that gives its name to this historical period.
  • For all its shortcomings, the model underscores the point that over time Japan underwent notable changes in its religious outlook and practice, which are embedded in the dominant forms of Japanese Buddhism today, and that those changes had their inception, if not their heyday, in the Kamakura period.
  • They preside over a period of great artistic and literary achievement, called the "Heian" period, in which the Japanese establish their cultural independence from the Chinese and develop in new directions of their own.
  • The map highlights the city of Kamakura, where the Shogun resides, as well as Kyoto, the capital and where the Emperor lives.
  • Kamakura became the center of Japanese government, military, culture, and more.
  • Kamakurabori refers to a type of carved wooden lacquerware that has been made in the Kamakura area since the late Heian and Muromachi periods of Japanese history.
  • An interesting fact of this shrine is that it was not only a Shinto "Hachimangu" shrine, but also a Tendai Buddhist temple for most of its history.Then, lunch will be taken at a fine, traditional Japanese restaurant in Kamakura (at own expense).
  • Select East Asia from the map and narrow down your selections by using the filter such as PLACE, TIME PERIOD and LANGUAGE. The site includes Japanese paintings, etc. from the collections of the Library of Congress and National Diet Library of Japan.
  • Part I consists of translations, arranged by topic with annotation and running commentary, of 177 edicts and land records from the time of Japan's Kamakura shogunate (1180-1333).















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