Until 1st Jan, 2026

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Lot 262 - FAS0624

Buy now for €5,200.00

Lot details

Japan, late Kamakura (1185-1333) to Muromachi period (1336-1573)

The architectural supports, sometimes also called corbels, are finely carved as the heads of two baku, one with his mouth wide open to reveal tongue and teeth, the other with his mouth closed. Both with prominent tusks and ears, showing a fierce expression marked by slanted eyes with thick brows.

LENGTH 40 cm (each)

Condition: Good condition with natural age cracks, splits, and holes due to insect activity. Minor chipping and small losses. Remnants of pigment.
Provenance: From a noted private collection in New York City, USA. Each applied with an old paper label reading: 唐獅子、鎌倉時代 “Karashishi, Kamakura jidai” [Chinese lions, Kamakura Period].

Each with an associated metal stand.

Baku are Japanese supernatural beings that are said to devour nightmares. According to legend, they were made from the spare pieces that were left after the gods had finished creating all other animals. Baku heads are commonly placed under the eaves of Japanese Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to ward off bad spirits. They are protectors against evil, devour nightmares, but cannot be summoned without caution, because - as legend tells - when baku is not satisfied after consuming the nightmares, he may devour one’s hopes and dreams too. The open-mouthed baku scares off demons and the closed-mouthed shelters and keeps in good spirits.


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