Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area

Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area

There are around 48 Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji area, in Nara Prefecture. Several date from the late 7th or early 8th century, making them some of the oldest surviving wooden buildings in the world. These masterpieces of wooden architecture are important not only for the history of art, since they illustrate the adaptation of Chinese Buddhist architecture and layout to Japanese culture, but also for the history of religion, since their construction coincided with the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from China by way of the Korean peninsula.

Monuments bouddhiques de la région d'Horyu-ji

Les monuments bouddhiques du Horyu-ji, dans la préfecture de Nara, sont au nombre de 48. Certains édifices construits à la fin du VIIe ou au début du VIIIe siècle comptent parmi les plus anciens bâtiments de bois subsistant dans le monde. Chefs-d'œuvre de l'architecture en bois, ils ont marqué une période importante de l'histoire de l'art, illustrant en effet l'adaptation de l'architecture et des plans bouddhiques chinois à la culture japonaise. Ils ont également marqué l'histoire des religions car leur construction coïncide avec l'introduction du bouddhisme au Japon, arrivant de Chine par la péninsule de Corée.

النصب البوذيّة في منطقة أوريو-جي

يصل عدد النصب البوذيّة في أوريو-جي، في محافظة نارا، إلى 48 معبدًا. ويُعتبَر بعض العمارات التي بُنيت في أواخر القرن السابع وفي بداية القرن الثامن من بين أقدم المباني الخشبيّة المُتبقّية في العالم. فهذه التّحف الخشبيّة الهندسة قد تركت بصماتها في الحقبات المهمّة من تاريخ الفن، مصوِّرةً في الواقع، تكيُّف الهندسة والتصاميم البوذيّة الصينيّة مع الثقافة اليابانيّة. كما أثّرت أيضًا في تاريخ الأديان وذلك لأنّ إنشاءَها تزامن ودخول الديانة البوذيّة الآتيّة من الصين إلى اليابان عبر شبه الجزيرة الكوريّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

法隆寺地区的佛教古迹

在奈良县的法隆寺地区,约有48座佛教建筑,其中有一些建于公元7世纪末至8世纪初,是世界上现存最古老的木结构建筑。这些木结构建筑杰作的重要性不仅仅在于它们展现了中国佛教建筑与日本文化的艺术融合历史,还在于它们标志着宗教史发展的一个重要时期,因为修建这些建筑的时候正是中国佛教经朝鲜半岛传入日本的时期。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Буддийские памятники в местности Хорюдзи

В местности Хорюдзи, префектура Нара, находится 48 буддийских памятников. Некоторые относятся к концу VII - началу VIII вв., считаясь одними из старейших в мире деревянных строений, дошедших до наших дней. Эти шедевры деревянной архитектуры имеют большое значение для истории искусства, поскольку они иллюстрируют проникновение китайской буддийской архитектуры и планировки в японскую культуру. Также памятники важны для истории религии, так как их сооружение совпало с приходом буддизма в Японию из Китая через Корейский полуостров.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Monumentos budistas de la región de Horyu-ji

Los monumentos budistas de la zona de Horyu-ji, situada en la prefectura de Nara, suman 48 en total. Construidas hacia finales del siglo VII o principios del VIII, algunas de las edificaciones de este sitio figuran entre las construcciones de madera más antiguas conservadas hasta la fecha en el mundo. Son obras maestras importantes para la historia del arte, ya que ilustran la adaptación del trazado y la arquitectura budistas de China a la cultura japonesa. También marcan un hito en la historia de las religiones porque su construcción coincidió con la introducción del budismo, que se propagó desde China hasta el Japón pasando por la península de Corea.

source: UNESCO/ERI

法隆寺地域の仏教建造物

source: NFUAJ

Boeddhistische monumenten in het Horyu-ji gebied

Er zijn ongeveer 48 boeddhistische monumenten te vinden in het Horyu-ji gebied in Nara. Sommigen hiervan stammen uit de laat 7e of begin 8e eeuw, waardoor ze tot de oudst bewaard gebleven houten gebouwen ter wereld behoren. De meesterwerken van houten architectuur zijn belangrijk voor de geschiedenis van de kunst omdat ze de aanpassing illustreren van de Chinese boeddhistische architectuur en ontwerp aan de Japanse cultuur. Daarnaast zijn de monumenten van belang voor de geschiedenis van de godsdienst; hun bouw viel samen met de introductie van het boeddhisme in Japan (vanuit China via het schiereiland Korea).

Source: unesco.nl

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Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

The Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area are located in Nara Prefecture. The property consists of forty-eight ancient wooden structures located at the two temples sites, twenty-one at Horyu-ji temple and Hokki-ji temple. The Horyu-ji temple covers an area of 14.6 hectares and the smaller Hokki-ji Temple 0.7 hectares. The two sites are surrounded by a single buffer zone measuring 570.7 hectares.

The Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area are the earliest Buddhist monuments in Japan, dating from shortly after the introduction of Buddhism to the country, and had a profound influence on subsequent religious architecture.

Eleven structures on the temple sites date from the late-7th or 8th century making them some of the oldest surviving wooden buildings in the world. Although a fire destroyed the original Horyu-ji buildings in 670, structural remains survive below ground in the precinct known as Wakakusa Garan to the south-east of the later West Temple (Sai-in). Rebuilding commenced almost immediately and continued into the early years of the 8th century.

The structures are based on the Chinese bay system, a modified version of post-and-lintel construction with intricate bracketing designed to transfer the weight of the heavy tiled roof down to the massive wooden supporting columns. They are especially noteworthy for the skilful use of entasis on the columns and their cloud-shaped brackets.

These masterpieces of wooden architecture are important not only for the history of art, since they illustrate the adaptation of Chinese Buddhist architecture and layout to Japanese culture, but also for the history of religion, since their construction coincided with the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from China by way of the Korean peninsula. From its foundation Horyu-ji always enjoyed the protection of the imperial family. In addition, the cult of Prince Shotoku, which flourished after the 12th century, attracted many pilgrims, and as a result Horyu-ji was always immaculately maintained and conserved.

 

Criterion (i): The Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area are masterpieces of wooden architecture, both in overall design and in decoration.

 

Criterion (ii): These are the earliest Buddhist monuments in Japan, dating from shortly after the introduction of Buddhism to the country, and had a profound influence on subsequent religious architecture.

 

Criterion (iv): The Horyu-ji monuments represent the adaptation of Chinese Buddhist architecture and temple layout to Japanese culture and the subsequent development of a distinct indigenous style.

 

Criterion (vi): The introduction of Buddhism into Japan and its promotion by Prince Shotokumarks a significant stage in the spread of Buddhism over this cultural zone.

 

Integrity

The boundaries of the property respect the historic outline of the temple grounds and include all the necessary monuments to demonstrate the adaption of Chinese Buddhist architecture and temple layout as well as its influence on subsequent religious architecture in Japan.

The property area, with its forty-eight component parts, maintains a good state of preservation and has adequate protection, thus, the property’s integrity is ensured in the contexts of both wholeness and intactness.

 

Authenticity

The conservation work that has been carried out since 1895 has met the highest standards of contemporary conservation practice. From 1934 onwards, new techniques have been developed for the conservation of wooden structures, and especially in the case of interventions involving dismantling and reconstruction, which established sound precedent for the conservation of wooden buildings.

The Japanese conservation practice conforms to established principles of authenticity in design, materials, techniques, and environment. Minor changes made to buildings have allowed them to retain their historic form and features, and safeguard the original character. Damaged wooden members are carefully replaced only when absolutely necessary and the process follows traditional techniques. The use of new materials is rigorously controlled. Special attention is paid to the use of traditional tools and techniques in conservation work. Most of the forty-eight buildings are in the original locations and have retained their historic settings.

In general, the property retains a high level of authenticity in terms of form/design, materials/substance, traditions/techniques and location/setting.

 

Protection and management requirements

The forty-eight buildings that comprise the property are all protected under designation as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties in accordance with 1950 Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. The areas of the property (15.3 ha) are also protected under designation as a Special Historic Site under the 1950 Law. Under the law, proposed alterations to the existing state of the property are restricted and any alteration must be approved by the national government.

Three legal instruments determine the designation and development control of the Buffer Zone (570.7 ha): (i) the Natural Parks Law, (ii) the Ancient Capitals Preservation Act and (iii) the Nara Prefecture Scenic Zone Ordinance.

The property is owned by theHoryu-jiReligious Organization and the Hokki-jiReligious Organization, which are responsible for its management. Several qualified conservation architects of the Nara Prefectural Board of Education are stationed at the site of Horyu-ji temple to plan and supervise repair work. As all of the monuments and their surrounding buildings are made of wood, each of the monuments is equipped with automatic fire alarms, fire hydrants and lightning arresters. In addition, private fire brigades are organized by Horyu-jiand Hokki-ji, which work in cooperation with public fire offices.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Nara Prefecture and Ikaruga Town provide the property owners with both financial assistance and technical guidance for adequate preservation and management.

Long Description

The Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ji area are the earliest Buddhist monuments in Japan, dating from shortly after the introduction of Buddhism to the country, and had a profound influence on subsequent religious architecture. They represent the adaptation of Chinese Buddhist architecture and temple layout to Japanese culture and the subsequent development of a distinct indigenous style.

Buddhism entered Japan from China via Korea in the mid-6th century AD. In the 7th century the pious Prince Regent Shotoku founded the religious centres of Horyu-ji and Chugu-ji. A disastrous fire destroyed the original Horyu-ji buildings in 670, but structural remains survive below ground in the precinct known as Wakakusa Garan to the south-east of the later West Temple (Sai-in). Rebuilding commenced almost immediately and continued into the early years of the 8th century.

The West Temple was completed first, followed by the East Temple (To-in) on the site of Shotoku's Ikaruga Palace. The great temple complex attracted a number of monasteries (Shi-in); these began as communities of Buddhist priests grouped around lecture halls, but in the 11th century they were gradually extended by the construction of temples, built by the priests and their disciples.

From its foundation Horyu-ji was considered to be the temple that guarded the empire, and so it always enjoyed the protection of the imperial family. In addition, the cult of Prince Shotoku, which began in the 12th century, attracted many pilgrims, and as a result Horyu-ji was always immaculately maintained and conserved.

Hokki-ji was almost completely destroyed at the end of the 16th century during political disturbances and only the three-storey pagoda remains from the original construction. With the Meiji restoration of 1868, which was accompanied by a more prominent role for Shintoism, Horyu-ji fell into a decline. However, the pioneering Law for the Preservation of Ancient Shrines and Temples (1897) resulted in it becoming the subject of a major restoration effort, and it has retained its primacy in Japanese conservation policies and programmes since that time.

The plan of Horyu-ji is patterned on the Chinese style of building in the Six Dynasties Period (Bai-wei: 222-589), with a relatively asymmetrical arrangement of the buildings. The structures are based on the Chinese bay system, a modified version of post-and-lintel construction with intricate bracketing designed to transfer the weight of the heavy tiled roof down to the massive wooden supporting columns. They are especially noteworthy for the skilful use of entasis on the columns and their cloud-shaped brackets.

The World Heritage site covers 48 buildings in total - 21 in Horyu-ji East Temple, 9 in Horyu-ji West Temple, 17 monasteries and other buildings, and the Hokki-ji pagoda. Of these, 28 were built before or during the 8th century - the Kondo (main half), Gojunoto (five-storey pagoda), Chumon (inner gate), and Kairo (roofed corridor) of Horyu-ji West Temple and the Sanjunoto (three-storey pagoda) of Hokki-ji. These may justifiably be claimed to be the oldest surviving wooden buildings in the world.

The four old buildings in the Horyu-ji West Temple (Sai-in) all date from 680-710. They are surrounded by ancillary buildings such as priests' living quarters, refectories, gates, etc. Fifteen buildings in the complex are designated National Treasures and six are Important Cultural Properties. Two of the buildings in the Horyu-ji East Temple (To-in) date from the first half of the 8th century - the Yumedono (main hall), an exceptional octagonal building, and the Denpodo (lecture hall). Another important structure, rebuilt in the 13th century, is the Raido (worship hall), which houses ashes of the Buddha. Three buildings in this group are National Treasures and six are important cultural properties. Of the Horyu-ji monasteries (Shi-in), most of which date to the 13th-17th centuries, 14 are designated as Important Cultural Properties. The Hokki-ji Sanjunoto (three-storey pagoda), the completion of which is dated to 705 by an inscription, is designated as a National Treasure.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Buddhism entered Japan from China via Korea in the mid-6th century AD. In the 7th century the pious Prince Regent Shotoku founded the religious centres of Horyu-ji and Chugu-ji. The Hokki-ji complex was founded later, in his memory, on the site of Shotoku's palace by his son, Yamashiro-no Oe-No O.

Adisastrous fire destroyed the original Horyu-jibuildings in 670, but structural remains survive below ground in the precinct known as Wakakusa Garan to the southeast of the later West Temple (Sai-in). Rebuilding commenced almost immediately and continued into the early years of the 8th century. The West Temple was completed first, followed by the East Temple (To-in) on the site of Shotoku's Ikaruga Palace. The great temple complex attracted a number of monasteries (Shi-in); these began as communities of Buddhist priests grouped around lecture halls, but in the 11th century they were gradually extended by the construction of temples, built by the priests and their disciples.

From its foundation Horyu-ji was considered to be the temple which guarded the Empire, and so it always enjoyed the protection of the Imperial family. In addition, the cult of Prince Shotoku, which began in the 12th century, attracted many pilgrims, and as a result Horyu-ji was always immaculately maintained and conserved. Hokki-ji was almost completely destroyed at the end of the 16th century during political disturbances and only the three-storey pagoda remains from the original construction.

With the Meiji restoration of 1868, which was accompanied by a more prominent role for Shintoism, Horyu-ji fell into a decline. However, the pioneering Law for the Preservation of Ancient Shrines and Temples 1897 resulted in it becoming the subject of a major restoration effort, and it has retained its primacy in Japanese conservation policies and programmes since that time.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation