Japan Spirit and Form #3
Published on Oct 26, 2014
#3: Discovery of the “Pure Land” This episode looks at the Kamakura Period of Japanese history (12th-14th centuries) and the ways Buddhism of the time influenced so much of the art of the period, particularly statues of Buddha, statues of prominent monks, painted scenes reflecting Buddhist beliefs, and a new kind of portrait painting that emerged during that period. Temples in Japan that are visited include: Todaiji, Jingoji, Higashi Honganji and Sanjusangendo, with its rows of statues of Kannon. Monks referenced include Chogen, Zendo Daishi, Ikkyu Sojun and Shinran. We see contemporary artists at work, including Shiko Munakata, a woodblock artist. Shuichi Kato comments from time to time and points out the influence of Japanese monk portraits on a much later school of European artists, most notably Vincent Van Gogh. Ashley Thom provides the English narration. Akira Mitake composed the music. This series is an NHK production from 1989.