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Guide To Japanese Historical Periods

Jomon Period

Japan Time Line Edo Period Momoyama Period Muromachi Period Kamakura Period Nara Period Asuka Period Kofun Period Yayoi Period Jomon Period

From This Period

Deep Jar
Amida Buddha

Heian Period


With the transferal of the capital from Nara to Heian-kyo (modern Kyoto) in 794, a new era began. Priests Kukai and Saicho introduced new forms of Buddhism from the mainland, including esoteric or Tantric practices. These new forms of Buddhism brought a more complex pantheon of deities, providing painters and sculptors with fresh sources of inspiration. By the year 1000, Esoteric Buddhism was being eclipsed by the popularity of the worship of Amida Buddha. The concept of Amida's heavenly "Pure Land" greatly influenced the arts, giving rise to elegant architectural forms and paintings and sculpture that reflected the idyllic beauty of Amida's paradise. Under the aristocratic Fujiwara regents, the court entered its "golden age." Members of this elite society developed native styles of calligraphy and painting that became enduring hallmarks of Japanese artistic expression.