Evolution of Japanese Art

The evolution of Japanese art: Asuka to Heian
After the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, Japanese artists followed strictly with the Chinese style during the Asuka period and Hakuho period. Almost all artworks of that time were religious pieces having to deal with Buddhism. However, in the Heian period, Japan moved its capital from Nara to Heian Kyo due to the strong political powers that Buddhist temples held at the time. This separation from the strong Buddhist influences allowed the Japanese to establish a more elaborated court life, in turn helped Japan to develop their own native style. The style of Japanese artworks changed dramatically from the Nara to Heian period not only due to this separation, but also due to the soured relationship between China and Japan. This is not to say that, Japanese artists have given up the Chinese style completely, but rather separated the development of the two styles completely.
The Asuka period marks the first major introduction of Buddhism into Japan. Along with Buddhist ideals, so too were Buddhism artworks brought to Japan from neighboring countries. The art style that Japanese artists painted and sculpted during this period is that of the Chinese elongated style, found commonly in Chinese artworks during the 6th century. The key features of this style are the slender bodies of the figurines, high pointed nose, down cast eyes, and iron wire lines on paintings. One of the most prominent painters of that period, Busshi Tori sculpted the Shaka Triad, with features that are almost identical to the Seated Buddha found the Longmen Caves . In this sculpture, Shakamuni is seated in the middle accompanied by two Bodhisattvas. Shakamuni in both sculptures look remarkably similar, seated in the same fashion, with the same mudra. The draperies between the two sculptures are almost identical in that both sculptures show the Linear patterning that is a favored style of China.   Perhaps the most key feature that indicated the direct...