Important Cultural PropertyStandhing Zaō Gongen

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  • 金銅蔵王権現立像
  • 1 piece
  • Gilt bronze
  • H 30.5
  • Heian period/12th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 951(彫54)

  The standing Zaō Gongen places its left hand on its waist while grasping an object (being lost) with its uplifted right hand. It carries its entire body with its left leg, while its right leg is held upward. In the case of this statue, it faces front as if it is adjusting its posture to straighten up and internalizes its power and tension by stretching its left leg vertically. Such a powerful expression is reminiscent of early Zaō Gongen statues. The balanced body and head parts, the mighty chest and the thin arms and legs clearly reflect the features of the late Heian period (twelfth century). However, the statue has a stern look with its big eyes and nose, narrowed eyes and facial expression of biting its bottom lip with its upper teeth. These features are seen in old style statues among other Zaō Gongen statues of the time. Although it wears traditional clothes—a long thin strip, a breechcloth and a wrap around skirt (kun)—it is not wearing the leather that Zaō Gongen should wear. The bottom edge of the kun is rolled around both legs and the end jerks upward from both kneecaps. It can be said that this style was inherited from the early designs. This statue, which is believed to be supported by mid-sized pillars, was created using the lost-wax casting and has holes that lead to the inside of the statue on the bottom half of the double chignon-like hairstyle and on the back of the right foot. The bronze is thin and a piece of filled metal on the back of the hem of the skirt was removed. Although there are many cavities on the surface, they are gilt. The jeweled crown, which might have been a three-pronged crown, on the head was lost. There are some holes for a breast ornament on the front of the body. This Zaō Gongen inherited the traditional style of the late Heian period (794–1185) and can be considered one of the best of its kind.