choujuuza 鳥獣座
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also kinjuuza 禽獣座 and juuza 獣座. A pedestal or throne for a Buddhist image in the form of a bird or a beast. According to the sutras and iconographic manuals, certain Buddhist deities use a bird or an animal to move about. The deity may sit directly on the animal, or a lotus pedestal *rengeza 蓮華座 may be placed between the animal and the figure. For example, *Kujaku Myouou 孔雀明王 uses a peacock and *Bonten 梵天 uses a goose. The animal bases include: elephants, used for the bodhisattva *Fugen 普賢; lions, specifically termed *shishiza 獅子座 are represented with *Monju 文殊 (also used for *Dainichi 大日 and *Ichijikinrin 一字金輪); and water buffalos are often represented with *Daiitoku Myouou 大威徳明王 or *Enmaten 焔魔天. Less common animal bases include the horse, turtle, wild boar and deer. Choujuuza were seldom used in the Nara period except for the elephant for Fugen and the lion for Monju, but they became very popular in the 9c with the rise of esoteric Buddhism. Esoteric icons of deities that sit on birds and animals include the sculpted images of the Five Great Akasagarbha Godai Kokuuzou 五大虚空蔵 at Kanchi-in 観智院 in Kyouougokokuji 教王護国寺 (Touji 東寺), Kyoto, and the original painting of the Eighty-one Buddhist Deities in the Kongoukai Kongoukai Hachijuuisson mandara 金剛界八十一尊曼荼羅; 13c copy in the Nezu 根津 Museum, Tokyo. These examples were brought from China in the early Heian period. The popularity of choujuuza did not last long. In early examples of the Twelve Deities *juuniten 十二天 such as the 9c paintings from Saidaiji 西大寺, Nara, the figures, sit on animal thrones, while in later examples such as the screens preserved at the Kyoto National Museum (formerly in Kyouougokokuji) and dating from 1127, they are seated on carpet seats *kuyuza くゆ座.

*izou 倚像

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