Important Cultural PropertyLion dog

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  • 1 statue
  • Color on wood, joined block construction
  • H 66.2
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1265(彫118)

This statue represents the "Ungyo" (closed mouth) of a pair of Komainu (guardian dog or lion). Although it can be imagined that it may have belonged to one of the Grand shines due to its dignified presence, the details of the origin is not known. The location of the other half of the pair, "Agyo" (opened mouth) is also unknown. Although the origin of Komainu is not certain, it is believed that there may be some connection to the pair of lions guarding the Butsu-bosatsu statue in China or the Shishigashira (lion head) held as a treasure in Syosoin. Moreover, as Japanese religion based on the worship of nature gradually mixed with the idea of humanized divinities, furnishings as treasures for gods started to be brought into shine pavilions, which were considered to be the houses of the gods. As such, Shishi (lion) or Komainu shaped weights used for chick blinds may have been found therein. Therefore, it is also considered that these weights became independent with time and started to be placed in pavilions or on porches, etc.

This statue is an old style Komainu that is facing front and sits on the ground and has a horn on the top of its head. It has a powerful expression with its canines and upper teeth exposed and looks as if it may start growling at any time. Although the features such as orbits that sag downward and a mane that adheres to the body are from the Heian period, other realistic features such as the thick and strong legs that stand firm on the grand with muscles and bones inside the skin standing out are similar to the style in the Kamakura period and it is considered that it was created in the early Kamakura period.