Important Cultural PropertyVaisravana

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  • 1 statue
  • Wood, joined block construction, carved eyes
  • H 164.0
  • Heian period/11th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 754(彫19)

Tobatsu-Bishamonten is different from a common Bishamonten. It is said to have emerged in the country of Tobatsu in the western area and enshrined at a gate to protect a castle.
The characteristic features of the statue is that it wears a special kind of overcoat (Kinsakou) and a crown (Hokan) with a design (of a phoenix in the center with two people standing on both sides) carved using a technique known as Usunikubori, while having a shrimp shaped gauntlet (Ebigote) on both hands and shrimp shaped protectors on the shanks. It also stands on Jitennyo.

In the early Heian period, the statue that is said to have come down from Tang (China) and have been enshrined at the Rajyomon (the gate of the capital of Heian) is now enshrined at To-ji Temple in Japan. In the late Heian period, this statue in To-ji Temple started to be used as a motif to imitate the original. It should be noted that that although imitated statues handed down to the Seiryo-ji Temple and the Kurama-ji Temple in Kyoto were created to include unique interpretations of the original, this statue stuck to the original as precisely as possible. This statue stands without any movement, while the statue in To-ji Temple has slight movement in the waist and legs. However, unlike the statue from To-ji Temple, this statue has a calm expression as black stones are not used for the eyes. It was created using the Yosegizukuri technique from hinoki cypress with a finishing touch of color.