Buildings on the Move: Temple Construction and Capital Relocation in Ancient Japan

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Buddhist temples started to appear in the Asuka area in the mid-sixth century when Buddhism was officially introduced to the Japanese archipelago. When the decision was made to construct a Chinese-style capital city a bit further to the north, some of these official and private temples were moved to the new city, while others were newly constructed or remained in their original location. This process of temple relocation, construction, and preservation was repeated every time the capital moved.
This paper examines the interrelationships between temple construction and the establishment of Japan’s Chinese-style capitals between the 7th and 9th centuries. Informed by historical records and archaeological excavations, it explores how and why temples were moved (or not) from one capital to the other; what happened to no-longer-needed government buildings; and who supplied building materials and technological know-how for both Buddhist and administrative structures.
PeriodApr 29 2016
Held atNew York University Shanghai, China