Kyo Butsudan (Buddhist altars)

Butsudan refers to a Buddhist altar where a Buddha image is safely kept, and for many years, it was exclusive to the aristocratic and warrior classes, however, in the Edo period, it spread among the masses. In Kyoto, where the various Buddhist head temples are centered and where the traditional arts and crafts have developed, the production of high quality Buddhist altars from long ago has been a source of pride. Originally, one craftsman produced the entire body, but in the latter half of the Edo period, as the division of labor in production progressed, the various parts such as the roof, the inner altar stand, and outside wooden carvings were made by separate craftsmen specializing in the production of the specific part or specializing in lacquer, gold or ornamentation, all of which require a high degree of skill. The tradition of crafts in Kyoto and their various craftsmen have made Kyoto the center of high quality Buddhist altars.