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ten@“V
KEY WORD :@art history / iconography
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An Indian god (Sk:deva) or goddess (Sk:devi) of non-Buddhist origin. When referring to such deities, the character "bu •”" is often added to ten, making tenbu “V•”. The term ten is used because each of the deities lives in one of the various heavens, ten “V on or above the summit of Mt. Sumeru (Jp: Shumisen {–νŽR), the stupendous mountain which rises from the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology. Ten is one of the six realms rokudou ˜Z“Ή of transmigration, a form of existence that is pleasant and long but finite, and does not allow escape from transmigration.
Ten may be divided into groups: those who protect the Buddha and his teachings, and those who are propitiated for good fortune. In the Nara period (8c) there were rather few ten; more were introduced with esoteric Buddhism. They appear in both the Shingon mandara ^ŒΎ™ΦδΆ—… (*mandara ™ΦδΆ—… of the Shingon sect) some two hundred in the outer court, Gekongoubu-in ŠO‹ΰ„•”‰@ or Saige-in ΕŠO‰@ of the *Taizoukai mandara ‘Ω‘ ŠE™ΦδΆ—…, and twenty in the *Kongoukai mandara ‹ΰ„ŠE™ΦδΆ—…. Their appearance in the outer courts suggests their protective function. Many of these ten appear only in these paintings and had no cult. Originally ten were associated with rituals performed for the public good, while later some of them came to be propitiated, first by the aristocracy and then by lower levels of society, for private benefits. Ten are often shown in Japan either as Indian figures or in Chinese dress.
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