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Unknown: Temple Figures

The Works of Art

These three framed photographs focus on three deity representations held in temples in and around Nara, Japan. The images are very striking and reflect pious and wrathful nature of some of the deities.

The first is a part guilded figure with a crown and a ring of open palmed hands and holding two sceptres. The figure represents a thousand  armed kannon figure. This figure is about 5.4 metres high and is said to have 953 arms. It is resides in the Toshodaiji Temple  in Nara, Japan. The temple was founded in the Tang Dynasty  around  759CE by a Chinese monk. The temple forms one of a number of religious sites which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nara.

Unknown temple figure from the Toshodaijai Temple

The second figure is from Shin Yakashiji Temple, also in Nara, Japan.  It is a standing guardian figure of General Basara and one of twelve at the temple. It is charged with the protection of the seated Yakushi-Nyorai (God of Medicine). The statue  shows an expression of frenzied anger and indignation whilst holding an arrow and a sword.

Unknown temple figure from the Shin Yakashiji Temple

The last image is of an ashuras statue and is the product of the Tempyo Periord. The deity has six arms and three faces and shows a sorrow-stricken expression on a youthful face.

Unknown figure from the Kofful Kuji Temple

Each statue has truly aesthetic qualities about them that shows the graceful lines of Buddhist and non-western religious art. These images make an interesting group  both aesthetically and as a study  if compared to other religious art from south-east Asia