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Tori Busshi: life and works

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By Gwylym Owen

Tori Busshi (止利仏師; トリ・ブッシ) was a Japanese sculptor responsive in the late 6th and in the future 7th century. He was from the Kuratsukuri (鞍作, “saddle-maker”) clan, and his full title was Shiba no Kuratsukuri-be no Obito Tori Busshi (司馬鞍作部首止利仏師); Busshi is a title meaning “the maker of Buddhist images”. By the ahead of time 7th century, Tori Busshi had become the favorite sculptor of Soga no Umako and Prince Shōtoku. Such high-ranking patrons indicate that Tori was intensely esteemed as an artiste and not just an anonymous craftsman. Many extant Asuka epoch sculptures in gilt bronze are ascribed to Tori and his workshop. The artist’s acquit yourself epitomizes Japanese sculpture during the era, with its solid, geometric figures in front-oriented, characteristic poses.

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