China and Japan in the Middle Ages

Figure 11 Figure 11. The Great Buddha of Kamakura, situated about forty miles south-west of Tokyo, is a major tourist attraction today. It was cast in bronze in A.D. 1252 .
At a time when much of the Western world was in decline, copper and bronze craftwork flourished on a grand scale throughout the Orient in India, China and Japan.


The enormous pyramidal masses of the Central and South Indian temples with their superabundant sculptures were mainly worked in stone; but they also contain many fine bronzes including Buddhas large and small. Some of the immense Buddhas and bells that can be found in India, China and Japan must have occasioned the founders many a headache; but once successfully cast, they have endured to this day (Fig. 11).

There is also an Indian Temple of Ananda, at Tirumalai, which is unique in foreshadowing modern trends. It is entirely sheathed in copper sheet with elaborate hand-wrought ornamentation, an interesting parallel to the use of copper wall sheathing on a number of modern buildings.