|KEY WORD : art history / sculptures|
|Lit. vajra pestle. A pestle-like object with pointed ends, derived from an Indian weapon. Usually made of gilt bronze, with kimoku 鬼目 (goblins' eyes) or kimen 鬼面 (goblins' heads), encircling the central grip, and an eight-petalled lotus flower above and below the centre. A symbolic item in Esoteric Buddhism *mikkyou hougu 密教法具, the kongousho is often held by guardian figures such as *Shukongoushin 執金剛神, *Kongou rikishi 金剛力士 and *Taishakuten 帝釈天. It represents the indestructibility of Buddhist law and the power of the Buddha to vanquish evil. There are various types of kongousho, named according to the number and shape of the prongs at the ends of the club. The oldest forms most frequently found in Japan are the *tokkosho 独鈷杵 (single-pronged pestle), *sankosho 三鈷杵 (three-pronged pestle) and *gokosho 五鈷杵 (five-pronged pestle). The houjusho 宝珠杵 (sacred pearl pestle) and tousho 塔杵 (pagoda pestle) are newer variations, and the kuzuryuusho 九頭竜杵 (pestle with nine dragon heads) and kyuukosho 九鈷杵 (nine-pronged pestle), common in Song and Yuan China, are thought to have originated in Tibet. A good example of a figure holding a kongousho is the Shukongoushin (8c) in Toudaiji *Hokkedou 東大寺法華堂 (Sangatsudou 三月堂), Nara.|
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