Busshi (sculptor of Buddhist statues) (仏師)

Busshi is a name for someone who is in charge of making Buddhist statues and so on, in Japan.

In the Asuka period, there were kin groups which had the skills of sculpting Buddhist statues, and the head of the family was called busshi. Most of them were engineers who belonged to the immigrants in ancient Japan. The name, KURATSUKURI no Tori (Tori Busshi), is familiar.

In the Nara period, a national "zobutsusho" (a workshop) where Buddhist statues for "daiji" (major temples built by Emperors), especially national temples were made, was newly built. Engineers, most of them were busshi since the Asuka period belonged to zobutsusho as "bukko" (sculptors of Buddhist statues and altar fittings).

In the Heian period, zobutsusho of the Nara period was closed. Former bukko engaged in the workshops for Buddhist statues at each daiji, and were called busshi. In comparison to "eshi" (painters) who belonged to "edokoro" (a workshop for paintings) in the Imperial Court, painters who were engaged on painting Buddhist statues under the patronage by the powerful temples and shrines were called "ebusshi." In the late Heian period, talented busshi left the constrained daiji and founded their own "bussho" (workshops or schools of Buddhist sculptors). The leading person was called "daibusshi" (master sculptors). Jocho and Unkei, Kaikei in the Kamakura period played the central roles.

Major Busshi
KURATSUKURI no Tori
YAMAGUCHI no Oguchiatai
KUNINAKA no Muraji Kimimaro

Medieval period
In school
En school
Kei school
Raijo
Kojo
Kocho
Seicho

After the end of Edo period
Koun TAKAMURA
Horin MATSUHISA
Shorin YAMAZAKI
Kocho NISHIMURA
Myokei MATSUMOTO
Satoshi YABUUCHI