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The Four Great TemplesBuddhist Art, Archaeology, and Icons of Seventh-Century Japan$
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Donald F. McCallum

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831141

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831141.001.0001

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(p.237) Conclusion
The Four Great Temples

Donald F. McCallum

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. It argues that the conceptualization of the Four Great Temples group was intimately related to many of the most significant political developments of the seventh century. In tracing this process, it is evident that Asukadera is different from the others since it was not a “royal” temple, but one founded by the powerful Soga clan; consequently, it was only later, somewhat reluctantly, included in the group. Nevertheless, it was in many respects the great temple of the seventh century, even if not initially a “great temple.” The chapter also identifies a common thread running through the process of the establishment of the Four Great Temples, as each ruler and court vowed and built a grand temple as a sign of supremacy. However, the extent to which this process was motivated by politics or personal piety is unclear.

Keywords:   Asukadera, Kudara Ōdera, Kawaradera, Yakushiji, Buddhist temples, Buddhist architecture, Buddhism

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