Few periods in Japanese history are more fascinating than the seventh century. This was the period when Buddhism experienced its initial flowering in the country and the time when Asukadera, Kudara Odera, Kawaradera, and Yakushiji (the “Four Great Temples” as they were called in ancient texts) were built. Despite their enormous historical importance, these structures have received only limited attention in Western literature, primarily because they are now ruins. Focus has been placed instead on Horyuji, a beautifully preserved structure, but not a key temple of the period. In The Four Great Temples: Buddhist Archaeology, Architecture, and Icons of Seventh-Century Japan, Donald F. McCallum seeks to restore the four great temples to their proper place in the history of Japanese Buddhism and Buddhist architecture.
November 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3114-1 / $38.00 (CLOTH)