The carving of Buddhist statuary in Japan can be traced back at least 1,400 years. Korean and Chinese influences predominated in early times, but in later centuries, the Japanese perfected, revitalized, and reshaped age-old techniques to better fit Japan’s own religious milieu. Along the way, the Japanese arguably created some of the world’s most “divine” Buddhist statuary. Despite the onslaught of modernity, secularism, and commercialism, Japan’s amazing carving traditions have survived – miraculously – into the 21st century.
A-to-Z Online Photo Dictionary of Japanese Religious Statuary & Art
This documentary explores the modern remnants of Japan’s ancient carving traditions – largely hidden from public gaze. It captures the hardships and aspirations of the current generation of apprentice-artisans training under the harsh-yet-kind tutelage of a master carver. Heart-warming and intimate, "Carving the Divine" unveils the secret world of master-disciple relationships among sculptors of religious icons. It also shines a spotlight on the time-honored traditions of passing down ancient techniques to a new generation. This film is a godsend for anyone who has worked with a mallet and chisel, but everyone who sees it will be touched by its beauty, benevolence, and blessings of compassion.