Heian

DEFINITION

A period in Japanese art history from 794-1185, often divided into the Early Heian (794-897) and the Late Heian (897-1185). The Heian was preceded by the Nara period (710-794) and followed by the Kamakura period (1185-1333).Examples of Early Heian (794-897) art:The priest Enchin (Japanese, 814-891), Early Heian period, Letter, 31.2 x 56.0 cm, Tokyo National Museum. Japanese authorities have designated this a "National Treasure." See Buddhist art.Examples of Late Heian (897-1185) art:Japan, Heian period, early 10th century CE, Juichimen Kannon (eleven-headed Kannon), solid woodblock construction with traces of polychrome, Worcester Art Museum, MA. Japan, Late Heian period, Fudo Myo-o, 12th century, wood with color and gold leaf, height 80 inches (203.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. This statue of Fudo, whose name means "immovable," is a staunch guardian of the Buddhist faith, warding off enemies of the Buddha with his word of wisdom and binding evil forces with his lasso. A symbol of steadfastness in the face of temptation, Fudo is one of the most commonly depicted of the Esoteric Buddhist deities known as Myo-o, "King of Brightness." Here his youthful, chubby body and his skirt and scarf are modeled with the restrained, gentle curves typical of late Heian sculpture. Fudo's hair was once painted red and his flesh dark blue green.Japan, Late Heian period, 12th century, Kujaku Myoo (Mahamayuri), 147.9 x 98.9 cm, Tokyo National Museum. Buddha sits upon both a lotus blossom and a peacock. Japanese authorities have designated this a "National Treasure."

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