Pair of early Edo-period kakejiku depicting Niô guardians 仁王

Price:  14.000,00

Pair of impressive, antique kakejiku 掛け軸 (hanging scroll) showcasing the awe-inspiring Niô guardians 仁王, also referred to as heavenly kings.

Each painting captures one of the two guardians: Agyô 阿形 with an open mouth and Ungyô 吽形 with a closed mouth. The intricate details of their muscular bodies, flowing robes, and dynamic garlands are skilfully depicted. Adorned with necklaces, bracelets, and armlets, they exude a powerful presence. One of the guardians holds a Buddhist tuning fork, while the other wields a thunderbolt sceptre. Their fierce and almost grotesque expressions are characterized by large bulging eyes and furrowed brows, adding to their formidable aura.

These expressive and polychrome paintings are finely rendered on silk using ink and watercolours. They are presented as hanging scrolls with silk brocade frames. The jikusaki 軸先 (rod ends) are made of red lacquered wood with an engraved scrolling foliage design.

Dimensions, each:
Image: Height 127.5 cm, Width 75.6 cm.
Entire scroll:
Image: Height 192 cm, Width 91.5 cm.

Period: Japan – around 1700, early Edo period.

Considering their age, they are in overall good condition, with some signs of wear, soiling, creasing, and a few minuscule losses. The mountings also exhibit some wear and small tears. Please look at the photos for a condition reference.

With an old black-lacquered wood tomobako 供箱 (storage box).

Niô, also known as Kongôrikishi 金剛力士, are formidable and muscular guardians commonly found at the entrances of Buddhist temples in East Asian Buddhism. These guardians are depicted as intimidating statues resembling powerful wrestler-like beings. They are considered manifestations of the dharmapala Vajrapani, the oldest and most potent deity in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon. According to Japanese tradition, the Niô accompanied Gautama Buddha to ensure his protection. While Buddhism is generally characterized by non-violence, the stories of dharmapalas like the Niô justified the use of force to safeguard cherished beliefs and values from evil. The Niô are also associated with Mahasthamaprapta, the bodhisattva of power in Pure Land Buddhism, and Vajrasattva in Tibetan Buddhism. As a pair of figures, they often stand under a separate temple entrance gate known as Niomon in Japan. The right statue, known as Misshaku Kongô 密遮金剛 or Agyô, has an open mouth, while the left statue, Naraen Kongô 那羅延金剛 or Ungyô, has a closed mouth. Symbolically, they represent the concept of “everything” akin to the notion of Alpha and Omega in Christianity.

When shipped we will add a certificate of authenticity.
Price including insured shipping.

Ref. No. : 81383-1d


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