Japanese Gilt Bronze Crown

Japanese Gilt Bronze Crown

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Japanese Gilt Bronze Crown - History

Who Made Japan’s Buddha Statues?
Sculptors, Schools & Workshops
in Japanese Buddhist Statuary

Kuratsukuri-be 鞍作部
Kuratsukuri 鞍作止利
Shiba Tatsuto 司馬達等
Tori 止利
Tori Busshi 止利仏師
Tori School 止利派
Toriha School 止利派
Tori Shiki 止利式
Tori Yoshiki 止利様式

  • Tori Busshi 止利仏師, famed bronze sculptor of the period. Busshi is the term for Buddhist sculptor. See Glossary.
  • Toriha 止利派 (Tori School) work attributed to Tori Busshi or his disciples.
  • Kuratsukuri no Tori 鞍作止利. Another name for Tori Busshi, for Tori was reportedly the head of a group of Chinese craftspeople living in Japan at the time called the Kuratsukuri-be 鞍作部. According to most resources, Tori was the grandson of a Chinese immigrant named Shiba Tatsuto 司馬達等 (also read Shiba Tatto), whose clan originally made horse saddles, an art requiring knowledge of metal casting and other crafts. Other sources say Tori hailed from Korea.
  • Tori Yoshiki 止利様式 (Yōshiki, Youshiki). Also written Tori Shiki 止利式. The term literally means “Tori Style.” Tori Busshi came to epitomize the art of Japan’s early Asuka Period, and statues make from his hand or by his apprentices are labeled as Tori Yoshiki or Tori Shiki. Art scholars agree that Tori-style sculpture was influenced by the Buddhist art of China’s Northern and Eastern Wei 魏 kingdoms (late 4th to 6th centuries), which was transmitted to Japan in large part by Koreans fleeing civil war on the Korean peninsula. The main stylistic elements of Asuka-period sculpture include a marked frontality (with no concern for the sides or the back of the images), crescent-shaped lips turned upward, almond-shaped eyes, and symmetrically arranged folds in the robes. The Tori style was strongly influenced by these artistic elements, which entered Japan along with the immigrants from Korea's Paekche (Jp. = Kudara 百済) and Silla (Jp. = Shinra or Shiragi 新羅) kingdoms. Nonetheless, Tori’s work commmunicates both softness and inner peace despite the stock poses, geometrical rigidity, and somewhat elongated facial and body features that characterized this period.
  • Note on Korean influence. Large numbers of Koreans fled to Japan in the 6th and 7th centuries to escape incessant warring among the three Korean kingdoms of Silla (Jp. = Shiragi 新羅), Paekje / Paekche (Jp. = Kudara 百済) and Koguryo / Goguryeo (Jp. = Kōkuri 高句麗). These immigrants brought numerous Buddhist images and texts, and played major roles as Buddhist academics, teachers, sculptors, artisans, and architects. Many of Japan’s earliest temple structures were made by Korean craftsmen, for example. Click here for more on Korean influence.


  • Korean Influence. Excluding the Tori-style images of the period, other important pieces are the "seated Bodhisattva half-inclined in meditation" (Bosatsu Hankazō 菩薩半跏像 ) at Chūguji Temple 中宮寺 , which was part of Horyu-ji Temple 法隆寺 (Hōryūji) in Nara. Statues of Miroku Bosatsu in particular were widespread during the Asuka period, and many were reproduced from Korean models. See the Asuka-Era Art Photo Tour Page for details on Korea’s influence.

Miroku Bosatsu -- Two views of same statue
7th Century AD, Wood, 87 cm in height
Chūgūji Temple 中宮寺 (Chuguji) in Nara

    Kudara Kannon 百済観音. Most scholars believe this famous statue came from Korea or was made by Korean artisans living in Japan. The name of the statue -- Kudara Kannon 百済観音 -- literally means "Paekche Kannon." Paekche (Paekje 百済 ) was one of three kingdoms in Korea during this period, and Kannon is one of the most beloved Buddhist deities in Asia. The statue’s extreme thinness seems at first bizarre, but the serenity in the face and the beautiful openwork bronze in the crown are marvelous. The vase symbolizes the “nectar” of Kannon’s compassion -- it pacifies the thirst of those who pray to Kannon for assistance. There are many indications that the statue came from Korea (or was made by Korean artisans in Japan). The superior workmanship of the piece, plus many of the stylistic nuances (faint smile, slender face, thin body, folds in garment, halo) are all hallmarks of Paekche artisans and generally conform to artwork from Korea’s Three Kingdom Period. In the book Korean Impact On Japanese Culture (Korea: Hollym International Corp., 1984), authors Jon Carter Covell and Alan Covell say the foremost clue of Paekche influence is the crown's honeysuckle-lotus pattern, which can also be found among the artifacts discovered in the tomb of Paekche's King Munyong (reigned +501-523). The coiling of the vines, they say, plus the number of protrusions from the crown petals, are nearly identical to similar extant Korean pieces.

    Carpenters in Asuka Period
    Below text courtesy TIME MAGAZINE, Feb. 16, 2004
    Of the 202 Buddhist sanctuaries in Osaka's Tennoji neighborhood, there is one that stands out: Shitennoji 四天王寺 (Shitennōji), the first Japanese temple commissioned by a royal (Prince Shotoku) and one of the oldest Buddhist complexes in Japan. Construction began in + 593, just decades after the religion reached the country's shores. One of the carpenters for Shitennoji, Shigemitsu Kongo, traveled to Japan from the Korean kingdom of Paekche (Jp. = Kudara 百済 ) for the project. Over a millennium-and-a-half, Shitennoji has been toppled by typhoons and burned to the ground by lightning and civil war -- and Shigemitsu's descendants have supervised its seven reconstructions. Today, working out of offices that overlook the temple, Kongo Gumi Co. is run by 54-year-old president Masakazu Kongo, the 40th Kongo to lead the company in Japan. His business, started more than 1,410 years ago, is believed to be the oldest family-run enterprise in the world. <end quote from Time Magazine>

  • JAANUS.Japanese Architecture & Art Net Users System. Online database devoted to Japanese art history. Compiled by the late Dr. Mary Neighbour Parent, it covers both Buddhist and Shintō deities in great detail and contains over 8,000 entries.
  • Dr. Gabi Greve.See her page on Japanese Busshi. Gabi-san did most of the research and writing for the Edo Period through the Modern era. She is a regular site contributor, and maintains numerous informative web sites on topics from Haiku to Daruma. Many thanks Gabi-san .
    Heibonsha, Sculpture of the Kamakura Period. By Hisashi Mori, from the Heibonsha Survey of Japanese Art. Published jointly by Heibonsha (Tokyo) & John Weatherhill Inc. A book close to my heart, this publication devotes much time to the artists who created the sculptural treasures of the Kamakura era, including Unkei, Tankei, Kokei, Kaikei, and many more. Highly recommended. 1st Edition 1974. ISBN 0-8348-1017-4. Buy at Amazon.


Copyright 1995 - 2012. Mark Schumacher. Email Mark.
All stories and photos, unless specified otherwise, by Schumacher.
www.onmarkproductions.com | make a donation

Please do not copy these pages or photos into Wikipedia or elsewhere without proper citation !

Lord Ganesha is Kangiten in Japan

Ganesha or Kangi-ten (歓喜天) is a god in Shingon & Tendai schools of Japanese Buddhism. Legends behind Soshin Kangi-ten (Male & Female embraced form), Evil Vinayaka, Saraswati (Benzaiten), Bishamonten (Kubera) etc.
He is the Japanese Buddhist form of Ganesh and also sometimes identified with the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (one who listens to cries of sentient beings who need help).
Kangiten is also known as Kanki-ten (ten means God or Deva), Shō-ten (聖天, ‘sacred god‘ or ‘noble god’), Daishō-ten (‘great noble god‘), Daishō Kangi-ten (大聖歓喜天), Tenson (天尊, ‘venerable god‘), Kangi Jizai-ten (歓喜自在天), Shōden-sama, Vinayaka-ten or Binayaka-ten (毘那夜迦天), Ganapatei (誐那缽底) and Zōbi-ten (象鼻天).
Ganesha or Vinayaka is said to be always in Turiya (तुरीय) Sthiti, which is the 4th and Blissful state of mind.
The other 3 states are waking consciousness, dreaming, and dreamless sleep, which are usually common states of consciousness and Turiya transcends these three states.
This matches with Kangiten being God of Bliss.
Also known as Gaṇabachi or Gaṇapati (Ganapati is a popular epithet of Ganesha) and Gaṇwha (Ganesha). Like Ganesha, Bināyaka is the remover of obstacles, but when propitiated, he bestows material fortunes, prosperity, success and health.

History of Kangiten in Japan

Kangiten first emerged as a minor deity in the Japanese Buddhist pantheon in the eighth-ninth centuries CE, possibly under the influence of Kukai (774–835), the founder of Shingon Buddhism. The Hindu Ganesha icon travelled to China, where it was incorporated in Buddhism, then journeyed further to Japan.
Kangiten’s early role in Shingon, like most other Hindu deities assimilated in Buddhism, is of a minor guardian of the twin mandalas. Later on, Kangiten emerged as besson, an independent deity. Kangiten appears in numerous Japanese besson guides, compiled in Heian period (794–1185). While it includes rituals and iconographic forms like the early Chinese texts, it introduces origin myths of the deity to justify the Buddhist nature of the Hindu Ganesha.
Early images show him as with two or six arms. The paintings and gilt-bronze images of the Dual Kangiten with explicit sexual connotations emerged in the late Heian period, under the Tantric influence of Tibetan Buddhism where such sexual imagery (Yab-Yum) was common. The rare Japanese sexual iconography was hidden from public eye, to abide with Confucian ethics.
Kangiten has now become an important deity in Shingon.

Soshin Kangi-ten (Dual Kangiten) with Male and Female forms together

The Dual Kangiten icon called Soshin Kangi-ten (“dual-bodied god of bliss”) is a unique feature of Shingon Buddhism. It is also called Soshin Binayaka in Japanese, Kuan-Shi ten in Chinese and Nandikeshvara (Not Nandi) in Sanskrit.
represented as an elephant-headed male and female pair, standing embracing each other.
The genders of the pair is not explicit, but hinted in the iconography. The female wears a crown, a patched monk’s robe and a red surplice, while the male wears a black cloth over his shoulder. He has a long trunk and tusks, while she has short ones. He is reddish-brown in colour and she is white. She usually rests her feet on his, while he rests his head on her shoulder.
There is no concrete evidence about the inception of this male+female Kangiten form. It is first found in Chinese texts, related to Chinese Tantric Buddhism, which was centred on the Buddha Vairocana and propagated by the three great masters Śubhakarasiṃha, Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. The Dharanisamuccya translated to Chinese by the monk Atigupta (Atikuta) in 654 CE describes a ritual to worship the Dual Kangiten the same ritual was replicated by Amoghavajra (705–774) in his ritual text Daishoten Kangi Soshin Binayaka ho. Amoghavajra describes Soshin Kangiten as a deva, who grants one’s desires and a trayaka, the protector against evil and calamity. It details rituals and mantras to gain favour of the Dual Kangiten as well as the six-armed Shoten. In another text by Amoghavajra, Soshin Kangiten is called a bodhisattva.

Rituals to appease Kangiten are described to gain three material things: kingship, prosperity and sufficient food and clothing. The text especially prescribes wine, the “water of bliss” as an offering to Kangiten.
Śubhakarasiṃha (early 8th century) in text, predating Amoghavajra but post-dating Atigupta composed in c. 723-36, equates Kangiten to Shiva and associates the Hindu king Vinayaka with Avalokiteshvara (Kannon).
The Dual Kangiten may also have been by the Hindu Tantric portrayal of Ganesha with consorts.

Legend of Evil Vinayaka in Japan

There are many Japanese Buddhist canons which narrate tales about the evil nature of Vināyaka. The Kangisoshinkuyoho as well as Śubhakarasiṃha’s early Chinese text describes that King Vinayaka (Binayaka) was the son of Uma(hi) (Parvati, mother of Ganesha) and Maheswara (Siva), father of Ganesha. Uma produces 1500 children from her either side from her left a host of evil Vinayakas, headed by Vinayaka (Binayaka) and from her right, benevolent virtuous hosts headed by the manifestation of Avalokiteshvara – Senanayaka (Lord of the army [of gods], identified with the Hindu god of war Skanda, the brother of Ganesha), the antithesis of Vinayaka. Senanayaka would take many births as the elder brother (as in the Hindu tradition) or wife of Vinyanaka to defeat him. Then Śubhakarasiṃha’s text says that as wife, Senanayaka embraces Vinayaka leading to the icon of the Dual Kangiten. In the Japanese pantheon, Kangiten is considered as the brother of Ida-ten, idenfied with Skanda.

Another legend narrates that the king of Marakeira only ate beef and radishes. When these became rare, he started feasting on human corpses and finally living beings, turning into the great demon-king Vinayaka, who commanded an army of vinayakas. The people prayed to the Avalokiteshvara, who took the form of a female vinayaka and seduced Vinayaka, filling him with joy (kangi). Thus, he, in union with her, became the Dual Kangiten.

The Kukozensho tells that Zaijizai, Maheshvara’s consort, had a son named Shoten, who was banished from heaven, due to his evil and violent nature. A beautiful goddess named Gundari (Kundali), took the form of a terrible demoness and married Shoten, leading him to good ways. Another tale narrates that Kangiten was the evil daughter of Mahaeshvara, driven out from heaven. She took refuge at Mount Binayaka and married a fellow male-Binayaka, resulting in the Dual Kangiten icon.
Japanese variants of the legend of the Dual Kangiten emphasize that union of Vinayaka (the male) and Vainayaki (the female) transforms an evil obstacle creator into a reformed individual.
The idea behind this story indicates relation of Ganesha to Kundali (Yogic Power that resides in our body).
This Kundali or Kundalini resides as silent energy at our Mooladhara Chakra (at lower end of backbone, below the Coccyx) in form of an elephant which folded its trunk while sleeping.
This is why Ganesh, (the symbolic God) is meditated upon with his Moola Mantra to awaken Kundalini at Mooladhara.

Kangiten worship along with other Gods in Japan

Kangiten is considered to be endowed with great power. Kangiten is regarded as protector of temples and worshipped generally by gamblers, actors, geishas and people in the business of “pleasure“. Mantras are often prescribed in ritual texts to appease the deity and even to drive away this obstacle-maker. Rice wine (sake), radishes and “bliss-buns” (kangi-dan) are offered to the god.
Hōzan-ji on the summit of Mount Ikoma is his most important and active temple. Though the temple is believed to have been founded in the sixth century, it came in the limelight in the 17th century when the monk Tankai (1629–1716) made the temple’s Gohonzon, a Heian period, gilt-bronze image of the Dual Kangiten, the centre of attraction. In the Genroku era (1688–1704), Osaka merchants, especially vegetable-oil sellers, joined Kangiten’s cult, attributing their success to his worship.

Daishō-in or Daisyō-in (大聖院?) is a historic Japanese temple complex, where we can find Benzaiten (Saraswati), Kangiten (Ganapathi) and Bishamonten (毘沙門天, Vaiśravaṇa or Kubera) together.

Japanese Gilt Bronze Crown - History

Lorenzo Ghiberti (Italian, 1378&ndash1455). Jacob and Esau Panel, from Gates of Parardise, 1425&ndash52. Gilt bronze. Collection of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. Image courtesy Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence.

After more than 25 years, the conservation of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise is nearing completion. The exhibition The "Gates of Paradise": Lorenzo Ghiberti's Renaissance Masterpiece provides an unprecedented opportunity to see three of the bronze doors’ famous narrative reliefs of Old Testament subjects, as well as four additional sections from the doorframes, before they are permanently installed in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence. It also reveals important new findings made during their restoration, including insights into the fabrication process and the evolution of Ghiberti’s imagery and techniques.

Created in the mid-15th century and installed in the eastern portal of the Baptistery, the Gates of Paradise have been praised by generations of artists and art historians for their compelling portrayal of scenes from the Old Testament. Over time, the seventeen-foot-tall, three-ton bronze doors became an icon of Renaissance art and a touchstone of civic and religious life in Florence. This exhibition showcases three panels from the left door of the Gates of Paradise, which depict the stories of Adam and Eve, Jacob and Esau, and David and Goliath. The exhibition also includes figures and heads of prophets from the doorframe, and it explores the evolving nature of art in Florence and Siena during Ghiberti’s career with works from the Art Institute’s permanent collection.

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In 1425 Lorenzo Ghiberti was commissioned to design a second pair of bronze doors for Florence’s Baptistery. He labored on the task for 27 years, fashioning a masterpiece that Michelangelo called “truly worthy to be the Gates of Paradise” for its remarkable beauty and grandeur. The panels offer viewers a coherent vision of Ghiberti’s artistic genius and his innovative use of perspective. Originally the Gates of Paradise were to have 28 figural panels, as in the earlier sets of Baptistery doors, but this plan was scaled down to 10 panels, a decision probably influenced by Ghiberti’s aesthetic judgment.

The Adam and Eve Panel documents Ghiberti’s earliest work on the doors and features a splendid depiction of nude figures in a landscape set off by angelic hosts. Ghiberti combined four major episodes from the story of Adam and Eve into this harmonious panel. The creation of Adam, illustrated in the foreground on the far left, shows Adam in a state of semiconsciousness, rising in response to God’s life-giving touch. In the center, as angels look on, God forms Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. The temptation of Adam and Eve by the serpent is shown in the background on the left, while the right side of the panel depicts the couple’s expulsion from Eden. Subtle shifts in the scale of the figures reinforce discrete episodes in the story of the Creation. Ghiberti modulated the scale and degree of projection of the angels to visually separate the four scenes.

In the Jacob and Esau Panel, Ghiberti employed a new system of linear perspective to construct the narrative. He arranged the episodes of the story around a vanishing point framed by the central arch of a Renaissance loggia. This panel, with its nearly three-dimensional foreground figures, masterful use of scientific perspective, and impressive architecture, shows that the artist was at the vanguard of Florentine illusionism and storytelling. In the panel, Jacob obtains the birthright of his elder brother, Esau, and the blessing of their father, Isaac, thus becoming the founder of the Israelites. Rebekah is shown giving birth to the twins beneath the arcade on the far left. On the rooftop in the upper right, Ghiberti depicted her receiving the prophecy of her sons’ future conflict.

Framed inside the central arch, Esau sells his rights as firstborn to Jacob, who offers his hungry brother a bowl of soup in exchange. In the front center of the panel, Isaac sends Esau hunting, and, in the right foreground, Jacob kneels before the blind Isaac, who, feeling a hairy goatskin on Jacob’s back, believes him to be Esau and mistakenly gives him the blessing due to the eldest son.

In the David Panel, Ghiberti illustrated the young David’s victory over the giant Goliath. David is shown in the foreground cutting off the giant’s head after knocking him down with a stone. Above this episode, King Saul—clearly labeled and elevated over the fighting Israelites and Philistines—leads his troops in a rout of the enemy. A cleft in the mountains beyond reveals David and his followers carrying Goliath’s head in triumph toward Jerusalem.

Ghiberti established a new approach to the human figure and perspective in his second set of Baptistery doors, greatly influencing his artistic contemporaries. Bartolommeo di Giovanni’s Scenes from the Life of Saint John the Baptist from the Art Institute’s permanent collection shows the lingering impact of Ghiberti’s narrative style, as seen in the Jacob and Esau Panel. Ghiberti’s influence is apparent in the open view of an interior space and the discrete groupings of figures distributed across the composition, each telling a different part of the story.

During the Renaissance, bronze was far more costly than marble, and it posed significant technical difficulties in an age before industrial casting. Ghiberti created the Gates of Paradise using a technique known as lost-wax casting. After making drawings and sketch models in clay or wax, he prepared full-scale, detailed wax representations of every component of the reliefs. (Some scientists and scholars believe that he modeled his reliefs directly in wax others propose that he made an initial model in another material and then made an indirect wax cast.) When Ghiberti and his assistants finished a model, they added wax rods in branching patterns to its back. The entire relief was then covered in a fire-resistant material like clay and heated until the wax melted out, leaving a hollow mold. The spaces that had been occupied by the rods served as sprues (channels) through which bronze reached the surface of the relief. The sprues were cut away from the reliefs after casting, but their remains are still visible on the back of each panel.

Ghiberti’s work was only half finished when he took the bronzes out of their molds. He still needed to complete the time-consuming and tedious work of chasing—that is, hammering, carving, incising, and polishing the reliefs. Utilizing his training as a goldsmith, he directed his numerous assistants in cleaning and enhancing details on the surface of the metal.

Ghiberti used a bronze alloy that was somewhat more difficult to cast than other bronzes of the period but was also very receptive to gilding. He mixed gold dust with mercury and painted the mixture across the front surface of each relief. Some of his brushstrokes are still visible, but, for the most part, he succeeded in creating a smooth, luminous surface that suggests air and atmosphere. To make the gold adhere to the bronze, Ghiberti heated each relief to burn off the mercury, leaving only the gold in place. This was a toxic and dangerous process that is no longer used.

The narrative panels of the Gates of Paradise are framed by a series of 20 prophets in niches alternating with 24 projecting heads. The standing figures, such as Restored Figure of a Prophet in Niche represent Old Testament prophets, heroines, and sibyls, generally credited with foretelling the birth of Christ. The heads also depict prophets, as in Restored Prophet’s Head but include portraits of Ghiberti and his son Vittorio, who continued the family workshop after his father’s death, as well. The elements of the doorframe amplify the main themes of the narrative panels and serve as another example of Ghiberti’s artistic inventiveness. The exhibition shows two heads and two prophets taken from the doorframe. One set has been cleaned the other has not. The contrast between each set demonstrates far better than words the impact of conservation in restoring the clarity and detail of Ghiberti’s masterpiece.

Before conservation, the gilt surfaces of the Gates of Paradise were covered with disfiguring and damaging incrustations, as seen in the untreated panels on display in the exhibition. Cracks and scratches in the gold also allowed pollutants to seep between the gilding and the bronze. The resulting accumulation of humidity and salts behind the gilding triggered a reaction that caused it to bubble, jeopardizing the integrity of the entire surface.

Conservation work began with six relief panels forced off the doors when the Arno River flooded Florence on November 4, 1966. These panels were dipped into a solution of Rochelle salts and distilled water, which dissolved all the surface incrustations. Conservation was subsequently extended to the remaining reliefs, although it took five years to ease them out of their ornamental framework. The whole frame was eventually removed from the Baptistery in 1990, when a modern copy of the Gates of Paradise was installed. Since then, laser technology has allowed scientists and conservators to develop a revolutionary new cleaning technique for the remaining panels, a process illustrated in a video accompanying the exhibition.

Reference Books on Early Korea

Dictionary of Korean Art and Archaeology
Roderick Whitfield (Editor in Chief)
Hollym, 2004

352 pp. 110mm X 182mm, Softcover.
ISBN: 1-56591-201-2

This publication seeks to promote a broader understanding of Korean culture and arts among foreigners with an interest in Korea's cultural legacy, and support scholarly research by providing English definitions and explanations of terminology used for cultural artifacts. The 2,824 entries in this dictionary are classified into four major categories: archeology, architecture, art history and folklore. They are listed in Korean alphabetical order, without classification of fields.

Early Korea Project, CGIS South Building Room S224, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Phone: (617) 496-3403. Fax: (617) 495-9976.


  • 1st. Center Lotus
  • 2nd. 6 Dragons spiral pattern
  • 3rd. Disc pattern
  • 4rh. Palmets
  • 5th. Flames and a tower

Lotus and 6 dragons

Mirror and format of halo


7-8th century japanese ancient arts often use palmets, but this is rigorous and matchless pattern. Although palmets have hellenistic origin, they might directly have travelled from Korean peninsula. This Kogryo(Northen Korea) tombs(ca. A.D.600) fresco has nearest palmets. This is Nai-li 1st Tomb's near Pyongyang. This is more similar than many chinese stone cave ornament palmets.

Contemporary similar halo

Tower and Lotus Sutra

At the top of 5th band, a tower/pavillon with 3 poles is engraved. There are another examples which has this strange tower. Right Fig. is a bronze reliefs plate in Hase-dera temple in Nara, Japan. It was dated in AD686. Height 91cm. It is a scene in Chapter 12th of Lotus Sutra(Suddharma Pundharika Sutra). A tower appeared from earth and an ancient buddha ( who was teaching far before the real buddha) admires modern buddha from the tower. Since this dramatic scene is very popular among chineses, many tower images were made.

Such tower is seen in Yung Kang Cave 6th cave(AD 5th century), too. This reliefs is identical to the bronze plate. In Norten Wei period, Many small gilt bronze images survived, which have a tower with buddha images. On these examples, I think the tower image of the halo should be a tower in Lotus Sutra.

Flames in Halo

5th band represents strong and rythmic flame pattern. Former gilt bronze halo likes it, but this is sharper.
I show two examples of flame pattern in 5-6th century, china. This gilt bronze statue(Fig.13) Ref. was in Japan until 1987, and is in Taipei National Museum 44cm height. ca. AD 480-490. One of typical masterpieces of Nothen Wei gilt bronze statue.This frame pattern is strong enough to match the wooden halo, but its style is different. A little rectangular. Other small gilt bronze statue(Fig.14) is in Tokyo National Museum, This is an Avalokitisvara dated AD 542. Eastern Wei dynasty. This curling flame pattern likes the 5th band. It is reason that AD 542 is nearer to early 7th century when Ho-ryu-ji statue should have been made.

Meaning of Flame pattern Halo in 5-7th century.

Flame pattern is commom in halos from the 5th-8th century buddhist images in china. The Horyu-ji halo succceds such trend. That Northen Wei gilt bronze image is a typical example.

Do they actually mean fire flame? It is strange that sacred image is in fire. Indeed deities representing rage and power have had fire flame halo after 8th century, it is considerable, but quiet and meditative images is in fire, too.

I want to set a hypothese. I suppose that this could be emanutio/explosion of energy which ancient chinese called "Ki" and represented as cloud patterns. Before AD 3th---B.C.4th century Chinese ancient deities often accompany such energy cloud. As an example this painting on back of lid of a bronze wine vessel. It shows a sacred bird in energitic cloud. This concept had 5-8th century chinese feel natural that saint images should emit energy flares.

A Gandahra sculpture in Musee Guimet, Paris, spouts flames upwards and water downwards. Such icon might have been a trigger to draw frame pattern in halo, but it is not reason why it became very popular in 5-8th century chineses. Moreover flame images in halo are rare in India.

IN PHOTOS: Miss Universe crowns through the years

On Monday, January 30, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, a very lucky woman will be crowned the 65th Miss Universe. She will take over the job that Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach confidently fulfilled the past year. One of the perks is the privilege of wearing the prestigious Miss Universe crown.

The Romanov Imperial nuptial crown

Since the pageant's inception in 1952, there have been 9 different crowns worn by beauty queen royalty. The very first Miss Universe crown used was actually from royalty. The Romanov Imperial nuptial crown previously owned by a Russian czar was used when Armi Kuusela of Finland won. It is believed to be made with approximately 1,535 flawless diamonds. Ironically, a nuptial crown was used to honor a "Miss."

FIRST MISS UNIVERSE. Finland's Armi Kuusela was Miss Universe 1952

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

The Metallic Bronze crown

MISS UNIVERSE 1953. France's Christiane Martel poses with judge Jeff Chandler.

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

The following year, the Miss Universe crown was replaced by a metallic bronze one. France's Christiane Martel became Miss Universe 1953 and was the only winner to have ever worn this design. It is probably the most unusual of all the crowns because it featured a very solid design and did not feature crystals or rhinestones unlike the other crowns.

Star of the Universe

Miriam Stevenson, Miss USA 1954, from South Carolina, was the first Miss USA to become Miss Universe. She was also the first titleholder to obtain a college degree while holding the title.

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

From 1954 to 1960, the design known as the Star of the Universe became the Miss Universe crown. It "consisted of approximately 1,000 Oriental cultured and black pearls set in solid gold and platinum," with a weight of 1.25 pounds. It is said to be valued at $500,000.

The rhinestone crown

MISS UNIVERSE 1961. Marlene Schmidt, the first Miss Universe from Germany, won her title in Miami Beach, Florida

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

MISS UNIVERSE 1962. Argentina's Norma Nolan poses for an official photo. Each Miss Universe will be featured in thousands of photos during her reign and will sign just as many autographs.

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

In 1961, the Miss Universe Organization wanted to have a special crown to commemorate its 10th anniversary. It was the first time that a rhinestone crown was introduced and Marlene Schmidt of Germany won. Marlene and her successor, Argentina's Norma Nolan, became the only two winners with the distinction of wearing the rhinestone crown.

The Sarah Coventry crown

MISS UNIVERSE 1963. Brazil's Ieda Maria Vargas takes her walk after winning the title.

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

The year 1963 ushered in the pageant's most famous crown – the one designed by renowned jewelry maker Sarah Coventry. Ieda Maria Vargas of Brazil, Miss Universe 1963, had the privilege of being the first winner to use this crown. The Philippines' Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969, also wore this during her reign. The last winner to wear the Sarah Coventry crown was Miss Universe 2001, Denise Quiñones of Puerto Rico.

Many pageant fans were very upset upon finding out that the much-loved crown would be replaced. It ended the era of tradition and ushered in the crown sponsorship years and more frequent crown changes.

MUCH-LOVED CROWN. Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quiñones wearing the Sarah Coventry crown.

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

The Mikimoto Crown

Below is a photo of Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quiñones crowning Miss Universe 2002 Oxana Federova. This picture clearly shows the two different crowns. It would be very rare to see this in future pageants because the outgoing queen no longer wears her crown during the crowning moment.

NEW CROWN. Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quiñones crowns 24-year-old Oxana Fedorova, of Russia, as Miss Universe 2002.

Photo from Miss Universe Organization

"The Miss Universe crown used from 2002–2007 was designed by Mikimoto, the official jewelry sponsor of the Miss Universe Organization, and depicted the phoenix rising, signifying status, power, and beauty. The crown has 500 diamonds of almost 30 carats (6.0 g), 120 South Sea and Akoya pearls, ranging in size from 3 to 18 mm diameter and is valued at $250,000. The Crown was designed specifically for the pageant on Mikimoto Pearl Island in Japan with the Mikimoto crown and tiara being first used for Miss Universe 2002. The crown has an accompaniment of a tiara which will be given to the winner after her reign."

Although the crown was very beautifully designed, some pageant fans were quick to speculate that switching to it brought bad luck. Several months after being crowned with the new Mikimoto crown, Federova became the first Miss Universe titleholder to be dethroned.

A brief guide to buttons

We often dismiss buttons as a clothing sideshow – the work horses of the accessories world. But early buttons were in fact more akin to jewellery than the modern-day fastenings we’re familiar with.

At 5,000 years old, an ornamental button made from shell, and found in Pakistan is currently considered to be the oldest button in existence. Other early buttons were made out of materials including bone, horn, bronze and wood.

Later, buttons took on more practical duties. In ancient Rome buttons were used to secure clothes, some having to support reams of fabric at a single point. But they were still a far cry from the slim, functional buttons you’re familiar with on your shirts and suits.

The Middle Ages: the invention of buttonholes

Image source: Shutterstock
Buttonholes didn’t make their first appearance until the 13th century

Buttons being used as clothing fasteners continued for centuries. But it wasn’t until the 13th century that proper buttonholes were being sewn into clothes, and with them, new possibilities for clothing arose.

Buttons with actual buttonholes rather than looser toggles meant that clothes could have a much more form-fitting shape.

For all their prominence, buttons were still largely the privilege of the wealthy during this period. In the medieval era, buttons meant serious wealth – for both the wearer and the maker.

Many buttons were made with precious metals and costly fabrics, and as Slate points out, this era was

a time when you could pay off a debt by plucking a precious button from your suit.”

Towards the Renaissance, some larger buttons took on additional functions they were used to hide keepsakes and stolen booty in small hidden chambers.

Industrial Revolution

Image source: Hugh McCormick Smith / Public domain
The inside of a busy button factory around the turn of the 19th century.

Of course, the less wealthy had buttons, too. These tended to be crudely made at home, until the Industrial Revolution, which ushered in the democratisation of buttons.

Around this time, the flat, four-holed button that we’re all familiar with emerged. Although the materials used have developed and the process refined since then it is still essentially the same button. This period also saw a rise in popularity for brass buttons on both military and civilian clothing.

The most popular buttons of the later half of the 19th century were made of black glass an imitation of Queen Victoria’s habit of wearing black buttons following the death of Prince Albert. With her loyal subjects adopting her style, black glass fasteners became the most widespread variety of the 19th century.

Modern Buttons

Image source: Grey Fox
Leather buttons – sometimes called “football buttons” after old-school leather footballs.

20th century designers and fashionistas flipped the original decorative use of buttons on its head: they became working accessories. Mass-production and materials like plastic made them prevalent, despite the invention of zipper.

That doesn’t mean modern buttons can’t still pack a decorative punch. Advances in technology mean that teddy bear-shaped buttons for children’s clothes can be as easily made as more conservative, stylish buttons for a suit.

Today, buttons are, once again, a good indicator of quality clothing. With more choice on the market, traditional buttons are making a resurgence. As Permanent Style notes:

“English tailors prefer matte, horn buttons… The natural materials are, of course, also associated with better suits.”

Another button-based sign of distinction is a jacket sleeve with working cuff buttons, as seen on our own classic tweed jacket.

There are even rules about buttons there’s a rule relating to the correct way to button a suit jacket, for example. Edward VII was a portly king who couldn’t close his jacket all the way and Real Men Real Style explains:

“…as a result always left the bottom button undone. His subjects (either out of respect or fear), followed suit. The trend of leaving the bottom button undone caught on.”

Buttons as symbols

While ornate buttons aren’t the sole preserve of kings and aristocrats any more, they still serve as symbols of rank on military dress. Military expert, Kelly Badge, points out:

“buttons are as varied as cap badges. Each unit has its own unique regimental button, often with a crest and sometimes a crown,”

Such buttons can have meaning well beyond power and status. During World War II, a British soldier encountered a 12-year-old Jewish boy and his family fleeing from the Nazis. He pulled a button off his greatcoat to give the boy and advised them to go south through France, rather than towards Dunkirk.

The family eventually made their way to America where the button now sits in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Buttons have proven to be firmly fastened to the fabric of human society – at least the past five thousand years of it. Even with the development of zippers, poppers and velcro, buttons are still the fastening of choice for people the world over.

If you’ve still got burning button questions, check out our buttons infographic!

So are you a button man, or do you prefer the simplicity of the zip? Do you have any old buttons knocking around – perhaps some historical military ones? Share them with us on our Facebook page.

The 6,000-year-old Crown found in Dead Sea Cave

The oldest known crown in the world, which was famously discovered in 1961 as part of the Nahal Mishmar Hoard, along with numerous other treasured artifacts, was recently revealed in New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World as part of the 'Masters of Fire: Copper Age Art from Israel' exhibit.

The ancient crown dates back to the Copper Age between 4000–3500 BC, and is just one out of more than 400 artifacts that were recovered in a cave in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea more than half a century ago. The crown is shaped like a thick ring and features vultures and doors protruding from the top. It is believed that it played a part in burial ceremonies for people of importance at the time.

New York University wrote: “An object of enormous power and prestige, the blackened, raggedly cast copper crown from the Nahal Mishmar Hoard greets the visitor to Masters of Fire. The enigmatic protuberances along its rim of vultures and building façades with squarish apertures, and its cylindrical shape, suggest links to the burial practices of the time.”

The Nahal Mishmar Hoard was found by archaeologist Pessah Bar-Adon hidden in a natural crevice and wrapped in a straw mat in a cave on the northern side of Nahal Mishmar, which became known as the ‘Cave of Treasures’. The 442 prized artifacts made from copper, bronze, ivory, and stone, include 240 mace heads, 100 sceptres, 5 crowns, powder horns, tools and weapons.

Some of the items from the Nahal Mishmar Hoard. Credit: John Bedell.

Carbon-14 dating of the reed mat in which the objects were wrapped suggests that it dates to at least 3500 B.C. It was in this period that the use of copper became widespread throughout the Levant, attesting to considerable technological developments that parallel major social advances in the region.

Some of these objects are like nothing ever seen anywhere else. The round knobs are usually said to be mace heads, but there is no evidence that any of them were ever used in combat. The remaining objects are even more unusual and unique in style, such as the bronze sceptre depicted below.

Bronze sceptre from the Nahal Mishmar Hoard. Displayed at the Hecht Museum in Haifa. Credit: John Bedell.

The objects in the Nahal Mishmar hoard appear to have been hurriedly collected, leading to the suggestions that the artifacts were the sacred treasures belonging to the abandoned Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi, some twelve kilometres away, which may have been hidden in the cave during a time of emergency.

Chalcolithic Temple above modern Kibbutz Ein Gedi. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Daniel Master, Professor of Archaeology at Wheaton College and a member of the curatorial team, said: “The fascinating thing about this period is that a burst of innovation defined the technologies of the ancient world for thousands of years.”

Jennifer Chi, ISAW Exhibitions Director and Chief Curator, added: “To the modern eye, it's stunning to see how these groups of people, already mastering so many new social systems and technologies, still had the ability to create objects of enduring artistic interest.”

The purpose and origin of the hoard remains a mystery.

Featured image: The oldest crown in the world, found in the Nahal Mishmar Hoard. ( Wikimedia).

How to Tell Fake Bronze in Sculptures

Ancient bronze sculptures and statuary are often worth large sums of money -- and wherever there's money, there's crime. An industry of forgery has sprung up to take advantage of the profits that can be reaped from selling fake bronze statues. Often made of resin or less valuable metals, fake bronzes will usually be given an artificial patina, imitating the genuine effect of aging on the surface of the metal. If you know what to look for, however, you can usually tell a fake from the real deal simply by using your powers of observation.

Check the price tag. If the statue looks like a steal, it probably is -- but you're the victim. Suspiciously low prices are often an indicator of shifty business.

Examine the craftsmanship. Many imitation bronzes feature shoddy detail work and generally appear to be of secondary quality when looked at closely. If the artwork is subpar, the chances of the sculpture being a fake are significantly higher, not to mention the fact that you're probably being charged more than the item is worth.

Look at the patina on the surface of the statue. Bronze develops an uneven brown and greenish hue over time that is most noticeable on ancient works that have been excavated. Forgeries often try to mimic this, but usually the results are less than convincing. Many fakes give the skin of the subject a uniform brown coloring, with the clothing taking on a more green hue. No genuine bronze will look like that.

Tap the sculpture to see whether it is made of genuine metal. A resin imitation sounds noticeably different from a real bronze statue. If you're still unsure, hold a lit match to the surface of the statue for several seconds. A bronze will show no visible changes, but a resin will immediately begin to bubble, giving itself away.

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