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Gozu Tennou@V
KEY WORD :@art history / iconography
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Also called Butou , Gion Tenjin _V_, or simply Tennou V. The deity of Yasaka Jinja _ in Gion _, Kyoto, also called Kangyouji όc or Kanshin-in S@. Gozu Tennou is said to have originally been the protective deity of the Jetavana Grove (Jp. Gion shouja _) where the first Buddhist monastery was established. Gozu Tennou appears in a variety of forms: in paintings usually as an angry figure with an ox head mounted on his own head. In this guise he may be identified with *Daiitoku Myouou Г who is seen seated on an ox. In sculpture he appears as a Chinese general or as a typical Shinto deity *shinzou _ wearing Chinese robes. He may have one, three or more faces, one or many arms and may be holding one or many attributes. Sculptures of him in military dress often have a jewel on a lotus instead of an ox head. He may hold a jewel in a lotus in one hand while the other hand may form a mudra with the first two fingers extended and the others folded (the sword mudra ken-in ). His beginnings in Japan are obscure, but his name suggests a connection with the ox-head gozu sandalwood which was prized in Buddhist texts and stories as the finest for incense. This red sandalwood, which came from a mountain called Ox-head, was also used for making images and for cremations. A further, medicinal use of this sandalwood may have led to Gozu Tennou being connected with illness and considered a protective deity, as from early Heian period, his function in Japan was as a deity of the transmission of epidemics yakubyougami ua_ and he was both feared and propitiated for protection. Gozu Tennou is considered an emanation (keshin g or *suijaku ) of *Yakushi t and is also often identical to or appears as the Buddhist manifestation *honjibutsu {n of Susanoo fj, brother of Amaterasu Oomikami VƑ_. He was understood as a shinto god as well as a Buddhist deity. However he was specifically mentioned in the documents of the separation of shinto and Buddhism, shinbutsu bunri _ in the Meiji period as an example of a Buddhist intrusion which was to be abolished from shinto shrines, and unlike *Fudou Myouou s, *Benzaiten ٍV, and *Kichijouten g˓V(also believed to be of non-Buddhist origin) he is not popular today. The continuing grandeur of the Gion festival *Gionmatsuri _ which still offers talismans against disease is a reminder of the importance of the cult in earlier times. There are several stories about Gozu Tennou and his name appears in Buddhist, Shinto and Chinese Yinyang (Jp: On'you Az) documents where he is identified as a deity from north India. Several stories mention his marriage with the daughter of Shakara Ryuuou , one of the Dragon Kings ryuuou (see *ryuu j who protect the Dharma. The daughter is identified as Barinyo k and/or as the star Tenkei VY , a word connected with leprosy. The pair had children: the Hachiouji q (Eight Princes). Gozu Tennou, Tenkei and the Hachiouji were enshrined at Gion. In other texts Gozu Tennou is also said to be an emanation of the star Tenkei. Especially revered at Gion, Gozu Tennou was also honored at Tsushima Jinja Ó_ in Aichi prefecture (which also holds an impressive festival) and at many other places, including Kasuga Taisha t, in Nara. It is unclear how he came to be enshrined at Gion; however, some stories speak of his having been called to the area of the present shrine from Hiromine L in Harima d (presentday Hyougo prefecture) and the others speak of his having originally come from an Ox-Head Mountain in Korea.
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