Bishamon 毘沙門
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
An abbreviation of *Bishamonten 毘沙門天, one of the four heavenly kings *shitennou 四天王, traditionally found guarding Buddhist sites. A mask of Bishamon is used in the kyougen 狂言 plays EBISU BISHAMON 夷毘沙門 (Ebisu and Bishamon) and BISHAMON RENGA 毘沙門連歌 (The God Bishamon and the Poem). The Bishamon mask has a tightly closed mouth extended in a wide grimace. The large, flattish nose has big round gaping nostrils, which echo the round glaring eyes above, and all the features are set off with deeply furrowed bold curves. Although the expression is fierce, like many kyougen masks *kyougenmen 狂言面, the overall effect is comic.


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