Horyuji Fresco : Wall Paintings

by Reiji Yamashina , (SERVER MOVED 2010, NOV, 3) Updated 2011, August, 5th.

Most Fresco Secco wall paintings in Horyuji monastery Golden-Hall were scorched by fire in 1949. Before the desaster, many photographs had been taken, but colour plates are rare, because three negative-plates were needed for one color photo before KODAK invention of colour negative film.

M. Sullivan ,The Arts of China,1973, Berkeley :
These paintings, after miraculously surviving for twelve centuries, were almost totally destroyed by fire in 1949, a disaster to the art of the world as great as if the frescos of Sistine Chapel or those in the cave-temples of Ajanta had perished

Regrettfully, few fine images of Horyuji fresco has been found in INTERNET, so I dare make them dedicating to lost beuties.
I make images of the paintings from over 50 years color plates (Copyright Free) of original fresco.

The technique is FRESCO SECCO following the terminology G. Vasari described in his TECHNIQUE.

Many scholars regard the date late 7th century, when Horyuji was rebuilt after ACE670 Fire Disaster. The artist/ artists is unkown. Some koreans claimed that Tamjing of Koguryo should be the artist, but it isn't correct.
The reasons:

  1. The style doesn't like Kogryo Mural painting style, but likes many reliefs(late 7th century ) in Sian(Tang Dynasty Capitol, China).
  2. He should be over 90 years old in the late 7th century, because he had been dedicated as a technologist by Kogryo King to Japan in ACE610.

Please CLICK images to show large images.


No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise Whole *1

No.1 wall, Shakyamuni Buddha Paradise,  Whole *1

No.10 wall, Bhaisajyaguruvaidurya-tathagata paradise, Whole *1

No.9 wall, Maytolaya-Buddha paradise, Whole*1

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, left detail, Mahasthamaprapta 

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, center detail, Amitabha Buddha

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, left detail, Avalokitesvara

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, left detail, Mahasthamaprapta

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, center, Amitabha Buddha, bust detail

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, left detail, Avalokitesvara

No.10 wall, Bhaisajyaguruvaidurya-tathagata paradise, upper left detail

No.10 wall, Bhaisajyaguruvaidurya-tathagata paradise, upper right detail

No.10 wall, Bhaisajyaguruvaidurya-tathagata paradise, Bodhisatva head

No.10 wall, Bhaisajyaguruvaidurya-tathagata paradise, bottom left detail.

No.10 wall, Bhaisajyaguruvaidurya-tathagata paradise, Bodhisatva and Guardian,

No.2 wall, Bodhisatva, whole.

No.2 wall, Bodhisatva, center detail.

No.2 wall, Bodhisatva, bottom half, thorne detail

No.2 wall, Bodhisatva, Head

No.11 wall, Samantabhadra, center detail

No.11 wall, Samantabhadra, whole

No.3 wall, Avalokitesvara, center

No.3 wall, Avalokitesvara, whole

No.1 wall, Shakyamuni Buddha Paradise, center left detail

No.9 wall, Maytolaya-Buddha paradise, upper right detail

No.7 wall, Bodhisatva, whole

No.4 wall, Bodhisatva, center detail

No.4 wall, Bodhisatva, whole

No. 8 wall, Manjyushuli, center detail

No. 8 wall, Manjyushuli, whole

No.12 wall whole , Avalokitesvara.

No.5 wall, Bodhisatva, whole 

No.5 wall, Bodhisatva, center detail 

Outer section small wall, Arhat

No. 8 wall, Manjyushuli, head。

No.6 wall, Amitabha Buddha Pradise, upper left detail

Aprasas No.14 (survived after fire) *1


References

  1. BENRIDO, Wall Paintings of the Horyuji Monastery,1951, KYOTO
  2. T. Harumatsu, Horyu-ji frescos, 1947/1, Osaka
  3. Ichimatsu. TANAKA, WAll-PAINTINGS OF HORYUJI-TEMPLE, 1958/3, Tokyo
  4. THE INSTITUTE OF ART RESEARCH,THE BIJYUTU KENKYU, NO.167, 1952/1, Tokyo
  5. Newslettr of National Museum, 1949/Feb.,Mar.,Apr., Tokyo
  6. Michael Sullivan, The Arts of China,1973, Berkeley
  7. Asukaen ed., TOYO-BIJYUTU, tom.2, numero special, 1931/10, Nara

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