Japan, 13th-15th century
The head, figure and base carved separately from ancient wood to depict the fierce guardian of the west in full armor, his hair tied to a topknot above his head, holding a scroll in his left hand, standing atop a demon with a menacing expression.
HEIGHT 81 cm
Condition: Commensurate with age. Some losses and bruises, age cracks, wormholes, minor old repairs, old wear and traces of use. Displaying well overall. Fine, naturally grown patina.
Provenance: From an estate in Paris, France.
Komokuten, also known as the guardian of the west, is one of four Shitenno (guardian figures). The Shintenno are typically placed in temple sanctuaries to protect Buddhist images, with Komokuten protecting the western quarter. They were created and positioned to be viewed frontally as a logical and dynamic composition. Komokuten is often depicted holding a writing brush and sutra scroll and standing on a demon, symbolizing dominance over all enemies of Buddhism.
A related wood statue of a Komokuten, dating to the 12th – 14th centuries, can be found in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum with the accession number F1976.12.
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