Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品

Kyo Butsugu

Kyo Butsugu Photo

It is conceivable that the various pieces of paraphernalia associated with Buddhism were first produced in Kyoto around the 8th century, when the monks Saichou and Kukai were exerting their influence on Heian Buddhism. Nevertheless, it was not until the beginning of the 11th century that work on this assortment of items began in earnest. This was when, Sadatomo, a sculptor of Buddhist images set up the Bussho workshop close to Hichijo in Kyoto and gathered around him specialists to make the various items required. It is little wonder that this craft developed in such an environment as Kyoto, which is home to the headquarters of some one hundred or so different sects and nearly 3,000 temples as well as countless national treasures and cultural assets. This work is nothing less than a crystallization of the skill and spirit bringing together under one banner a wide variety of different skills and techniques wielded by masters in each field. The design of the many items made differs for each sect, as do the way in which things are used. All must be accommodated in the making of wooden and metal items, carved wooden representation of Buddha and other Buddhist images.