city in S Honshu, Japan, east of Osaka: oldest permanent capital of Japan & chief early Buddhist center (fl. 8th cent. )
A city of south-central Honshu, Japan, east of Osaka. An ancient cultural and religious center, it was founded in 706 and was the first fixed capital of Japan (710-784).x
- (government, US) National Archives and Records Administration
- A glass vase about a foot high is preserved at Nara in Japan, and is alleged to have been placed there in the 8th century.
- The oldest existiog work of this period is a mural decoration in the hail of the temple of Horyu-ji, Nara, attributed to a Korean priest named Donchfl, who lived in Japan in the 6th century; and this painting, in spite of the destructive effects of time and exposure, shows traces of the same power of line, color and composition that stamps the best of the later examples of Buddhist art.
- The first historical period of glyptic art in Japan reaches from the end of the 6th to the end of the 12th century, culminating in, the work of the great Nara sculptors, Unkei and Period, his pupil Kwaikei.
- Happily, there are still preserved in the great temples of Japan, chiefly in the ancient capital of Nara, many noble relics of this period.
- With these may be named the demon lantern-bearers, so perfect in the grotesque treatment of the diabolical heads and the accurate anatomical forms of the sturdy body and limbs; the colossal temple guardians of the great gate of Tdai-ji, by Unkei and Kwaikei (11th century), somewhat conventionalized, but still bearing evidence of direct study from nature, and inspired with intense energy of action; and the smaller but more accurately modelled temple guardians in the Saikondo, Nara, which almost compare with the fighting gladiator in their realization of menacing strength.