Japan, Nara Period


Nara (nä´rä), city (1990 pop. 349,349), capital of Nara prefecture, S Honshu, Japan. An ancient cultural and religious center, it was founded in 706 by imperial decree and was modeled after Chang'an (see Xi'an), the capital of T'ang China. Nara was (710–84) the first permanent capital of Japan. The noted Todai-ji temple has a 53.5-ft-high (16.3 m) image of Buddha, said to be one of the largest bronze figures in the world. Nara Park, the largest (1,250 acres/506 hectares) city park in Japan, includes the celebrated Imperial Museum, which houses ancient art treasures and relics. Near the city is wooded Mt. Kasuga, the traditional home of the gods; its trees are never cut. Also nearby is Horyu-ji, founded in 607, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan, with the grave of Jimmu, the first emperor. Nara prefecture (1990 pop. 1,375,478), 1,425 sq mi (3,691 sq km), is largely mountainous and its population centers are in and around the capital. Agriculture, crafts, and tourism are the area's main industries.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Japan, Nara Period: Selected full-text books and articles

The Art and Architecture of Japan By Alexander Soper; Robert Treat Paine Penguin Books, 1955
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "Buddhism as a State Religion Nara Period: 710-784
Sculpture of Japan, from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Century By William Watson The Studio, 1959
Librarian's tip: "The Early Nara Period, A.D. 538-671" begins on p. 19 and "The Later Nara Period, A.D. 710-784" begins on p. 24
The Craft of the Japanese Sculptor By Langdon Warner McFarlane, Warde, McFarlane, and Japan, 1936
Librarian's tip: "Tempyo or Nara Period A.D. 710-794" begins on p. 17
An Introduction to the Arts of Japan By Peter C. Swann Frederick A. Praeger, 1958
Librarian's tip: Chap. III "Later Nara or Tempyo 712-794"
Nomai Dance Drama: A Surviving Spirit of Medieval Japan By Susan M. Asai Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Nara Period (A.D. 710-794) begins on p. 14
Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture By John S. Bowman Columbia University Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: "Nara Period: 710-794" begins on p. 126 and p. 180
Culture and Customs of Japan By Noriko Kamachi Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "The Nara Period (710-794)" begins on p. 13
The Shoso-In By Percival David Eastern Press, Ltd., 1932
Japan: A Short Cultural History By G. B. Sansom Stanford University Press, 1978
Emaki: Japanese Picture Scrolls By Hideo L. Okudaira C. E. Tuttle Co., 1962
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