Kōfuku-ji

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This article is about the World Heritage Site. For the shrine in Nagasaki, see Kōfuku-ji (Nagasaki).
Kōfuku-ji
Kofukuji0411.jpg
Five-story pagoda and Tōkondō at Kōfuku-ji
Information
Denomination Hossō
Venerated Shaka Nyorai (Śākyamuni)
Founded 669
Founder(s) Emperor Tenji
Address 48 Noboriōji-chō, Nara, Nara Prefecture
Country Japan
Website http://www.kohfukuji.com/

Kōfuku-ji (興福寺 Kōfuku-ji?) is a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, in the city of Nara, Japan. The temple is the national headquarters of the Hossō school and is one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

History[edit]

Kōfuku-ji has its origin as a temple that was established in 669 by Kagami-no-Ōkimi (鏡大君), the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari, wishing for her husband’s recovery from illness. Its original site was in Yamashina, Yamashiro Province (present-day Kyoto). In 672, the temple was moved to Fujiwara-kyō, the first planned Japanese capital to copy the orthogonal grid pattern of Chang'an. In 710 the temple was dismantled for the second time and moved to its present location, on the east side of the newly constructed capital, Heijō-kyō, today's Nara.

Kōfuku-ji was the Fujiwara's tutelary temple, and enjoyed as much prosperty, and as long as the family did. The temple was not only an important center for the Buddhist religion, but also retained influence over the imperial government, and even by "aggressive means" in some cases.[1] When many of the Nanto Shichi Daiji such as Tōdai-ji -declined after the move of capital to Heian-kyō (Kyoto), Kōfuku-ji kept its significance because of its connection to the Fujiwara. The temple was damaged and destroyed by civil wars and fires many times, and was rebuilt as many times as well, although finally some of the important buildings, such as two of the three golden halls, the nandaimon, chūmon and the corridor were never reconstructed and are missing today.

Architectures and treasures[edit]

Nan'en-dō is the No.9 of Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage
Tōkon-dō (East Golden Hall)

The following are some of the temple's buildings and treasures of note.

Architecture[edit]

  • Tōkon-dō (East Golden Hall) (東金堂?), 1425, one of the former three golden halls (National Treasure);[2] the Chūkon-dō (Central Golden Hall) (中金堂?) is currently being reconstructed.[3]
  • Five-storied pagoda (五重塔 gojū-no-tō?), 1426 (National Treasure)[4]
  • Three-storied pagoda (三重塔 sanjū-no-tō?), 1185-1274 (National Treasure)[5]
  • Hoku'en-dō (North Octagonal Hall) (北円堂?), 1210 (National Treasure)[6]
  • Nan'en-dō (South Octagonal Hall) (南円堂?), 1741, Site No.9 of Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage (Important Cultural Property)[7]
  • Ōyūya (Bath House) (大湯屋?) 1394-1427 (Important Cultural Property)[8]

Treasures[edit]

  • (Statue) The Devas of the Eight Classes, including dry-lacquer Ashura (National Treasure)
  • (Statue) The Ten Great Disciples (National Treasure)
  • (Statue) Thousand-armed Kannon (National Treasure)
  • (Statue) Fukūkansaku Kannon (不空羂索観音?) attributed to Kōkei, is housed in Nan'en-dō (National Treasure)

Plan[edit]

Showing the original layout of the temple, with the later Three-storied pagoda, Nan'en-dō, and Ōyūya superimposed. Of the buildings marked, only these three together with the Five-storied pagoda, Tōkon-dō and Hoku'en-dō remain.[9]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ John Bowring, pp.218-219
  2. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Central Golden Hall". Kōfuku-ji. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Suzuki, Kakichi (1980). Early Buddhist Architecture in Japan. Kodansha. p. 86. ISBN 0-87011-386-0. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°41′N 135°50′E / 34.683°N 135.833°E / 34.683; 135.833