Matarashin 摩多羅神
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
The protective deity of the Jougyou zanmaidou 常行三味堂 of Enryakuji 延暦寺 on Mt. Hiei 比叡 in Kyoto. He is usually portrayed wearing court robes and a hat, carrying a drum, and accompanied by two dancers. The Big Dipper, hokuto shichisei 北斗七星 appears in the upper part of paintings in which he appears because he was popularly believed to be one with *Daikokuten 大黒天, and is manifested as an esoteric form thereof with three eyes, three heads and six arms. He is associated with the Tendai 天台 traditions of ritual music, and is worshipped as the deity of the Kaidan-in 戒壇院 of that sect, the Kaidan-in being a platform of stone or earth on which commandments are given to Buddhist priests, monks or nuns. Traditionally Matarashin is believed to have been a Chinese Buddhist deity who accompanied Ennin 円仁 (794-864) on his return from China where he had stayed for some years in order to study esoteric and Tendai Buddhism. In this he resembles *Shinra Myoujin 新羅明神 who accompanied Enchin 円珍 (814-91), and *Seiryou Gongen 清滝権現 who accompanied *Kuukai 空海 (774-836) on their returns from similar sojourns in China.


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