Shukongoushin 執金剛神
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Also read Shuukongoujin. Also called Kongoushu 金剛手, Jikongou 持金剛, *Kongou rikishi 金剛力士 (Sk: Vajrapani or Vajradhara). Buddhist guardian deity who wears armor and holds a pestle-like club, (Sk: vajra, Jp: *kongousho 金剛杵). His fierce-looking face with glaring eyes, wide-open mouth and threatening pose identify him as a suitable guardian of the Buddha. Shukongoushin may derive from Devadatta, a cousin of the Buddha who served as his body guard. The deity is also related to the Hindu god Indra (Jp: *Taishakuten 帝釈天) who is associated with thunderbolts and has his own origin in the folk deity Yaksa *Yasha 夜叉 who was a gate guardian. Shukongoushin's protective function is often fulfilled between two figures called Kongou rikishi or the *Niou 仁王. The 9c NIHON RYOUIKI 日本霊異記 (collection of Buddhist tales) compiled by Keikai 景戒 tells of a miraculous statue of Shukongoushin which aided the priest Rouben 良弁 (also known as Roben, 689-773), who was the second patriarch of the Kegon 華厳 sect in Japan and who worked on the construction of Toudaiji 東大寺. The famous clay statue *sozou 塑造 of Shukongoushin at Toudaiji Sangatsudou 三月堂 (also known as *Hokkedou 法華堂), which dates from the mid-8c, has long been considered the same as that mentioned in literature. The late 15c handscroll of the Legends of Shukongoushin Shukongoushin-engi emaki 執金剛神縁起絵巻, Toudaiji, illustrates the legends associated with the deity.


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