"one tree," is a type of Japanese sculpture made from a single block of wood.
This technique flourished in the ninth century when a spirit of religious revivalism
prevailed, and the spirit of the tree was invoked to lend strength to the image carved
During the early Heian period, wood's predominant use for sculpture
brought about unusual techniques as well as profound rituals. A mystical ritualistic
aspect of purification was required in the use of materials, and the sculptor would purify
himself as well as his tools prior to working.
The works in Mark Lindquist's "Ichiboku" series of sculptures
are based on techniques and ideologies of Japanese Heian period artists. The sculptures
are lathe-turned and carved from Florida cherry and pecan woods, and polychromed or
stained with pigments in oils. The following statements explain the historical references
to which the titles allude:
Natabori, "hatchet carving," refers to a
technique in Japanese Buddhist sculpture of the Heian period in which the surface of the
work is not smoothed off, but instead decorative patterns of repetitive hatchet strokes
are allowed to articulate the outer skin of the image.
literally "rolling wave," refers to the deep carving technique which emulates a
stylistic interpretation of drapery. No attempt is made by the sculptor to reproduce
realistic folds, but rather to achieve the expression of mysterious, beautiful forms of
sensuous, undulating, rhythmic sculpture.
Mongaku was a late twelfth century samurai who retreated
to the Kumano Mountains and stood under the ice-cold waters of Nachi Waterfall for penance
and to temper his resolve. Afterward he became a priest and took up residence in the
Temple of Jingoji in the Takao Mountains where he devoted his energies to the restoration
of the temple. He was a man of prodigious energy and inner strength, a dark and brooding
figure resident deep in the mountains outside of Kyoto.
Akikonomu, "lover of autumn," was a major
figure in the eleventh century novel The Tales of Genji. Prince Genji built apartments for
Akikonomu in his Nijo palace and planned the gardens outside her veranda to be beautiful
throughout the year but at their peak in autumn, her favorite season.
Ki no Kami, according to Shinto carpenters, is the
divinity residing in a tree. When a tree is felled, the Ki no Kami becomes enraged that
his home has been assaulted. Years must pass before the tree can be cut for use, giving
him time to calm his anguished writhing and exit the log without causing it to crack.
Yama Uba, "old woman of the mountains," is an
enigmatic mythic figure from the Heian period, sometimes a benevolent spirit, sometimes a
nurturing mother. She made a home in the mountains where she reared her son Kintaro, a
child of extraordinary strength. (He later became the renowned warrior Sakata no Kintoki.)
Yama Uba is often depicted as a soslitary soul wandering through the hills, savoring the
passage of seasons, and becoming one with the natural world.
Atsumori: During the Gempei Civil War, both armies
listened as a young warrior named Atsumori played the flute plaintively during the night
before the Dannoura Battle. The old warrior, Kumagai, was deeply moved by the music, and,
after the battle, wept to learn that a young warrior he had killed was the musician who
had touched his soul the night before.
Yosegi Zukuri: The development of yosegi-zukuri
(started in the late 10th century by the sculptor Jouchou circa
1057) provided an efficient and expeditious use of sometimes scarce
materials whereby the inside of the statue could be hollowed.
Life-size or smaller statues were made by either yosegi-zukuri,
ichiboku-zukuri, or warihagi techniques.
Consultant on Titles: Dr. Penelope Mason
Professor of Art History/Director of Asian Studies
Florida State University