Important Cultural PropertyHeavenly King

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  • 1 statue
  • Wood
  • Heian period/10-11th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • C-1855

This is an image of a deity in armor with a furious look, who stands looking at the lower left. This may be one of the Shitenno (four heavenly kings) or one of a pair of deities. Its body from the head to the bottom of the feet is carved out of one material (katsura tree) and the inside is hollowed out from the back (Seguri). While the image features a powerful look with protruding eyes and a massive body under the armor, the standing appearance with the relaxed right leg exudes a rather peaceful atmosphere with little activity. Moreover, the carving edge is not sharp and the drapery folds are shallow. It seems that this was created in the mid-Heian period in Nara. It is not certain if the remaining blue gradation is part of the original work or not. While it is a shame that both shoulders and arms are missing, it is still a valuable piece of work in that it displays the process toward the completion of the Japanese style in Buddhist images.