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Kurikara@䗘ޗ
CATEGORY:@art history / iconography
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Also known as Kurika 闢, a transliteration of Sanskrit Kulika, the name of a dragon-king *ryuu mentioned in Indian legends. In this connection he is also known as Kurikara Ryuu 䗘ޗ (Dragon Kurikara), sometimes with the addition of ou , to read Dragon king Kurikara. Kurikara could also be an abbreviated transliteration of Kulika raja (King Kulika), or of Kulika-nagaraja (Dragon king Kulika). In Esoteric Buddhism mikkyou he is regarded as a manifestation of *Fudou Myouou s and is also known as Kurikara Fudou 䗘ޗs or Kurikara Myouou 䗘ޗ. He assumes the form of a flame-wreathed snake or dragon coiled around an upright sword, with his open mouth about to swallow the tip of the weapon, which is called the Kurikara sword, kurikaraken 䗘ޗ. According to the KURIKARA RYUUOU DARANIKYOU 䗘ޗɗo, this manifestation of Fudou had its origins in a contest between Fudou and a non-Buddhist heretic in the course of which Fudou transformed himself first into a sword and then into the dragon Kurikara and threatened to devour the sword into which the heretic had changed himself. Alternatively the dragon and sword are sometimes said to represent the noose and sword held by Fudou and images of Kurikara may be used as a substitute for Fudou as for example on the lid of a lacquered sutra box *kyoubako o from the Heian period belonging to Taimadera in Nara, where he is flanked by Fudou's two attendants *Kongara douji 㹗q and *Seitaka douji ޓq. Early statuary representations are rare: that kept at Ryuukouin @ Mt. Kouya in Wakayama prefecture, inside a small shrine *zushi ~q is thought to date from the Kamakura period, although temple tradition holds that the sword (42.2cm) was brought back to Japan by *Kuukai C (774-835). The largest completely wooden image (183.2cm), dating from the late Heian period, is kept at Kotakeji in Ooita prefecture. The Kurikara pattern, kurikara-mon 䗘ޗ is also a popular motif in tattoos irezumi n.
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