sougyou hachiman 僧形八幡
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
One of the most popular Shinto deities, who is shown in the form of a Buddhist monk and who protects warriors and the community at large. Sometimes identified as the Emperor Oujin 応神 and accompanied as a statue by Oujin's mother Jinguu 神功 and Nakatsuhime 仲津姫, his spouse as a deity. The first extant sculptures of hachiman date from the late 9c (Kyouougokokuji 教王護国寺, Kyoto), and from these through to images of the Heian period, he is always shown with a shaven head in the robes of a monk. Typically he is holding the cane of a monk *shakujou 錫杖 and is seated on a pedestal. The reason for this pose is obscure, though several suggestions have been made. One is that he was intended to resemble *Amida 阿弥陀 but his identification with Amida is only known from a later time. Another idea is that he was made to look like *Jizou 地蔵 but his cult was not connected with that of Jizou. The most plausible suggestion is that his appearance as a monk reflects the sincerity of his adoption of Buddhism. From the late 8c, hachiman was called Great Bodhisattava Hachiman hachiman daibosatsu 八幡大菩薩. Hachiman's appearance at this time is perhaps less remarkable given that at the time many nobles were becoming monks and nuns. Sougyou hachiman were being made even after the Heian period, and by the 13c other Shinto gods *kami 神 were also shown as Buddhist monks in paintings .

*honji suijaku 本地垂迹

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