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The Genius Of Japanese Carpentry


Over twelve hundred years ago in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara, anonymous carpenters erected a number of intricately-designed timber temples and pagodas for a new Buddhist monastery known as Yakushiji. These buildings then as today were considered marvels of architectural elegance and traditional Japanese craftsmanship. One of the ancient pagodas still stands today, which is itself a testament to the great skill and dedication of its ancient builders. Even more surprising, though, is the fact that the same skills and dedication are very much in evidence today in the work of modern-day Japanese master carpenters. The Genius of Japanese Carpentry focuses on the work of these modern-day craftsmen—who combine the timeless past with the living present in their everyday lives. What precisely is a Buddhist temple, what is a temple carpenter, and what relationship do they have to the traditional Japanese crafts of woodworking and carpentry in general? These are questions raised and answered by Prof Brown before taking up the subject that lies at the heart of this book—which the reconstruction of the Yakushiji Picture Hall itself.

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