hossu 払子
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also 白払. A kind of brush, used to drive away insects during meditation. The hossu originated in ancient India, and is said to have already existed during the lifetime of Buddha. Hemp fibres, wood bark, or sheep's wool were attached to a handle to make the brush. In Japan badger's hair or deer's tail *shubi 麈尾 were used, and the hossu was carried by Buddhist priests as a symbol of spiritual leadership. In Zen Buddhism the hossu symbolized the subjugation of carnal desires, and also represented the principle of not hurting living things. It is found as an attribute *jimotsu 持物 held by Buddhist figures; a good example is the 9c seated *Bonten 梵天 in Touji 東寺, Kyoto.


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