Japanese Head

Ref. Number: 890

Country: Japan

Material: Alabaster

Dimension: 9 x 5.5 x 5.5 cm

Alabaster head of Buddha

The arrival of Buddhism in Japan is ultimately a consequence of the first contacts between China and Central Asia which occurred with the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century BC, following the travels of Zhang Qian between 138 and 126 BC, which culminated with the official introduction of Buddhism in China in 67 AD.

Then, Buddhism was introduced again in the 6th century to Japan from Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures were primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and eventually gained growing acceptance during the Asuka period (538 to 710).

Alabaster head of Buddha

Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals: gypsum (a hydrous sulfate of calcium) and calcite (a carbonate of calcium). The former is the alabaster of the present day; while generally, the latter is the alabaster of the ancients.

Albaster head of Buddha

The two kinds are distinguished from one another readily, due to differences in their relative hardness. The gypsum kind is so soft as to be readily scratched with a fingernail, while the calcite kind is too hard to be scratched in this way. This head is definitively made of calcite.

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