Oak was formerly largely used by wood-carvers, and is still in some demand for those artists, being harder and more durable than lime and other woods that yield more readily to the sculptor's tool.
The great Nara school of sculpture in wood was founded in the early part of the 11th century by a sculptor of Imperial descent named JOchO, who is said to have modelled his style upon that of the Chinese wood-carvers of the Tang dynasty; his traditions were maintained by descendants and followers down to the beginning of the 13th century.
From this time the temple carvers, although still attached to the carpenters guild, took a place apart from the rest of their craft, and the genius of Hidari Jingoro secured for one important section of the artisan world a recognition like that which Hishigawa Moronobu, the painter and book-illustrator, afterwards won I or another.
A considerable school of carvers soon began to work in the Matsumoto style, and hundreds of their pi-oductions have gone to Europe and America, finding no market in Japan.
Midway between the Matsumoto school and the pure style approved by the native taste in former times stand a number of wood-carvers headed by Takamura KOun, who The Semi- occupies in the field of sculpture much the same place ign as that held by Hashimoto Gaho in the realm of 00.