Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 11
January 2, 2023 (Mon) - March 19, 2023 (Sun)
Daianji was Japan’s first temple built by the state. Its predecessor was Daikan Daiji (Great State Temple), with the temple assuming the name Daianji after relocating to the new capital Heijō-kyō (present-day Nara) at the start of the 8th century. Known as one of Nara’s Great Temples during the Nara period (710–794), Daianji flourished as a hub for Buddhist studies. It had a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with priests travelling from India, Vietnam, China, and elsewhere to reside and study on the temple’s spacious grounds. Daianji’s Nara-period Buddhist sculptures are carved from single blocks of wood. They are also characterized by exquisite carving and skillful bodily depictions. As such, they are pioneering examples of the wooden Buddhist sculptures prevalent in Japan from the Heian period (794–1192) onwards. With a focus on these statues, this exhibition explores the appeal of Daianji, the foundation of Japanese Buddhism.