ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Heian Period

Updated on January 25, 2013


This era saw a temporary waning of Chinese influence and the gradual assertion of essentially Japanese design in the arts. In architecture, the demands of building the new capital at Heian-kyo (now Kyoto) led to the first palaces, temples and residences to be totally Japanese in conception.

Hardy hinoki timber remained the basic building material. From the simple traditional shrines and dwellings developed the quiet grandeur of the mountaintop monasteries of the new Tendai and Shingon Buddhist sects, the Euryaku-ji on Mount Hiei and the Korgobu-ji on Mount Koya.

In secular architecture, the shinden (aristocratic houses) and Amida halls (family temples) favored rich display and the extensive landscaped gardens for which Japan is famous.

Wood carving was the main sculptural form of the Heian period; figures are stylized representations of an expanded, more complex canon of gods and many exhibit a fullness and sensuality, the result of Indian influence, for example, the five manifestations of the Bodhisattva of infinite virtue, the Godai Kokuzo (mid ninth century) at Jingoji, Kyoto.

Outstanding among Heian sculptors was Jocho, responsible for the gilded images of Amida in the Hokaiji temple and the Hoodo of Byodin at Uji and founder of a uniquely Japanese school of sculpture. Towards the end of the period, sculpture displayed an increasing naturalism. A style of grotesque caricature also developed as seen in the wooden reliefs of the twelve Kofukuji Generals at Nara.

The Heian period saw the emergence of a secular style of painting, Yamato-e, depicting genre scenes and episodes from Japanese history and literature in vivid colors on long scrolls; for example, Takayoshi's Tale of Genji which illustrates a popular contemporary novel.

Religious painting of the early Heian period reflects the esoteric trends of the Tendai and Shingon sects with representations of the many deities and diagramatic pictures of the Buddhist world. In the late Heian (or Fugiwara) period, a mystical yet sensuous aesthetic emerged in religious painting, producing masterpieces like the graceful Death of Sakyamuni.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)