Important Cultural PropertyStanding Guardian (Rikishi)

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  • 乾漆力士形立像
  • 1 statue
  • Color on hollow dry lacquer
  • H 59.0
  • Nara period or Tang dynasty, China/8th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1113(彫102)

This Kongo Rikishi statue, a guardian of Buddhism, wears a costume known as Tenni and Mo and stands on a lotus flower shaped base while stretching its right arm downward with its hand making a fist and positioning its left hand in front of its chest. It was made using a carving technique known as Dakkatsuu Kanshitsu Zukuri with a finishing touch of color. Its style, featuring a peculiar expression with a heavy beard and whiskers, a body shape of a heavily built upper body with an unmatched extremely-thin lower body and a posture with its chest sticking out, is unprecedented. Its expression appears somehow indifferent, while the position of its hands and its pose brings a sense of tension that gives it a distinctive presence. As no similar examples exist in Japan, the era when the statue was created is difficult to specify. However, judging from the features such as the simple form of the chest, the expression of the beard and whiskers, the heavily built upper body, the pose and the muscular body, it can be concluded that the statue was created in the early Nara Period when the style of the early Tang dynasty (China) still had a heavy influence. In addition, the possibility that it was created in China should also be considered.