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kongousho@n
KEY WORD :@art history / sculptures
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Lit. vajra pestle. A pestle-like object with pointed ends, derived from an Indian weapon. Usually made of gilt bronze, with kimoku S (goblins' eyes) or kimen S (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 @, the kongousho is often held by guardian figures such as *Shukongoushin _, *Kongou rikishi ͎m and *Taishakuten ߓV. 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 ƌ؋n (single-pronged pestle), *sankosho O؋n (three-pronged pestle) and *gokosho ܌؋n (five-pronged pestle). The houjusho n (sacred pearl pestle) and tousho n (pagoda pestle) are newer variations, and the kuzuryuusho 㓪n (pestle with nine dragon heads) and kyuukosho ؋n (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 厛@ؓ (Sangatsudou O), Nara.
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