Courses / Spring 2014

Spring 2014

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    Course Number: HA 134A | CCN: 04919

    Buddhist Temple Art and Architecture

    Gregory Levine

    This course introduces the art and architecture of Buddhist temples/convents in Japan. Whether as a monastic center, private devotional chapel, or popular urban nexus, the temple/convent has comprised a key religious environment in Japan and has had an enduring impact upon architecture and the visual arts. We will examine the architecture and art of selected sites dating from the 8th century onwards, including Hōryūji, Tōdaiji, the Byōdōin, Sanjūsangendō, and Daitokuji, and consider their religious histories and art histories. We will keep an eye on broader themes. What were temple architectural and artistic requirements/what makes architecture and art Buddhist; how did architectural materials/spaces/forms reflect doctrine and condition ritual and belief; what functions did icons, relics, and other numinous objects play in the life of a Buddhist community and what types of architecture developed with them; and how were programs and ensembles of art and architecture developed to meet doctrinal and ritual needs? The course will also consider elite patronage and popular pilgrimage and the dispersal of religious icons into museum and private collections during the 19th and 20th centuries.

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