See Techniques Page for details on casting and gilding methods.
Viewing many of them in one glance gives us a good idea of the artistic styles then prevailing among the first wave of Korean and Chinese imports into Japan in the 6th & 7th centuries.
Buddhist images of the Asuka Period were made primarily by artisans from Korea & China who lived in Japan.
It alludes to his victory over the evil demon Mara, who sought to disturb his meditation, and therefore his enlightenment. "Art of the Himalayas," December 3, 2011–December 9, 2012.
The same gesture is also associated with Akshobhya, one of the five great cosmic Buddhas central to the iconography of early Tibetan Buddhism. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.
Hundreds of bronze pieces, mostly gilt bronze, are still extant.
Many are small, around 30 cm in height, and coated with a thin layer of gold (tokin 鍍金) or gold leaf (hakuoshi 箔押).
These pieces allow us to surmise how Japan developed its own distinctive style.
One of the most famous groupings of extant gilt-bronze images, from China, is the Shijuhatai Butsu 四十八体仏, the so-called Forty-Eight Buddhist Images, now kept at the Tokyo National Museum.
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The altar at Hōryūji with Shaka Trinity in central position.
Legend says the central statue was made in the image of Prince Shōtoku Taishi. Reportedly made by Kuratsukuri no Tori 鞍作止利, a Chinese (or perhaps Korean) emigrant who founded the Tori Busshi 止利仏師 school of early Buddhist sculpture in Japan.
Equally baffling are the nut-like objects held in each hand by the attendants.