Koumokuten 広目天
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Sk: Virupaksa. A guardian deity, believed to protect the west of Buddha's realm. Usually found as part of a group of Four Guardian Kings *shitennou 四天王. Often wears armour yoroi 鎧 and stands on a demon *jaki 邪鬼. Koumokuten's hand positions *in 印 and attributes *jimotsu 持物 are not rigidly prescribed. Most commonly he has a writing brush in the right hand and a scroll in the left, or he clenches the right hand in a fist and holds a long, three-pronged spear sansageki 三叉戟, in the left. Japan's oldest Koumokuten statue, seen with the brush and scroll, forms part of the mid-7c shitennou group in Houryuuji *Kondou 法隆寺金堂, Nara. Koumokuten is also found in larger groups of statues such as *nijuuhachi bushuu 二十八部衆 (the twenty-eight attendants of thousand-armed Kannon *Senju Kannon 千手観音). A good example is the early 13c Koumokuten in the nijuuhachi bushuu group in Sanjuusangendou 三十三間堂 (also known as Rengeouin 蓮華王院), Kyoto. This figure bears a three-pronged spear greater than his own height.


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