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a un@ˆ¢™Ý
CATEGORY:@art history / scluptures
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Sk: a-hum. 'A' is the sound of the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet and is pronounced with the mouth open. 'Un' is the sound of the last letter of the Sanskrit alphabet and is pronounced with the mouth closed. At the entrance to a Shinto shrine, there are often two lion-dog shrine guardians *komainu Œ¢, one with mouth open and the other with mouth closed. *Niou m‰¤ (two kings) guardian figures are found at either side of a Buddhist temple gate, in the same poses. 'A' and 'un' represent the beginning and the end of all things, or inhalation and exhalation, respectively. The expression with the mouth open is known as *agyou ˆ¢Œ` and that with mouth closed as ungyou ™ÝŒ`. Examples include the stucco Niou from 711 guarding the central gate *Chuumon ’†–å of Houryuuji –@—²Ž› in Nara. The right-hand figure (when facing the gate) has the agyou expression, and the left-hand figure the ungyou expression. Another example of an a un pair are Japan's largest Niou (wood, 8.03m), guarding the *Nandaimon “ì‘å–å at Toudaiji “Œ‘厛 in Nara, made by Unkei ‰^Œc (?-1223) in the Kamakura period.
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ungyou ™ÝŒ` (left), agyou ˆ¢Œ` (right)FHouryuuji Chuumon –@—²Ž›’†–å (Nara)
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REFERENCES:
*Kongou rikishi ‹à„—ÍŽm
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NOTES
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