Until the twelfth century, Japanese Buddhism was closely linked to the aristocracy's strategy of centralizing political control. The aristocracy's artistic and religious tastes favored works of religious art that were majestic and awe-inspiring and that suggested parallel relationships to the existing worldly power structure. Religious imagery, both in painting and in sculpture, emphasized the visual representation of abstract concepts rather than depicting narratives. The images focused on divine hierarchies meditative paths to enlightenment, and perceptions of ultimate reality.
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art|
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