Metals have been widely used in Japan since the Yayoi period (about 300 BC - AD 300), when bronze and iron were introduced from Han Dynasty China. Iron was used to make tools and weapons. The Kofun period (about AD 300-7th century) saw great technological advances. Japan had plentiful supplies of copper, and gold was discovered in 749. The mercury amalgam method was used to gild copper plate used to decorate horse trappings. The making of weaponry and armour, especially swords, developed into a highly-skilled and respected craft over the following centuries. Buddhism was the dominant influence in the arts of the mid-sixth to tenth centuries. Bronze sculptures in the Chinese tradition were the norm, such as the famous Great Buddha of the Todaiji Temple in Nara (eighth century). Later, bronze was gradually replaced by wood, though smaller bronze pieces were still made throughout the medieval period and into the Edo period (1600-1868). During the Meiji era (1868-1912), swordsmiths and armourers adapted their ironworking skills, making articulated animal ornaments and even ornate flower vases. See "Japanese metalwork". The British Museum Website. Retrieved 2014-06-14.