Collections: Asian Art: Koma-Inu (Mouth Closed); One of Pair

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  • 2nd Floor
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  • 3rd Floor
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    85.171.1_85.171.2_PS9.jpg 85.171.2_PS9.jpg 85.171.1_85.171.2_transp4299.jpg 85.171.1_85.171.2_view2_SL4.jpg

    Koma-Inu (Mouth Closed); One of Pair

    Koma-inu, usually pairs of lionlike guardian creatures found at the entrance to Shinto shrines, function as protectors of the sacred precincts. The use of lionlike guardians was imported from China via Korea and ultimately from further west in Asia. They normally sit with straight forelegs. Like the Nio ("Benevolent Kings") figures that guard the gates of Buddhist temples, the one on the right, Agyo, has its mouth open, while the one the left, Ungyo, has its mouth closed, gestures associated with the first and last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, a and um. Although not present in this figure, often the beast on the left has a single horn in the center of its head. Once covered with brilliant color, the pigment has now largely worn away, revealing the full strength and beauty of the carved wood beneath.

    This text refers to these objects: ' 85.171.2; 85.171.1

    • Medium: Hinoki (cypress wood) with traces of polychrome
    • Dates: Early 13th century
    • Period: Kamakura period
    • Dimensions: 21 x 11 1/4 in. (53.3 x 28.6 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 85.171.2
    • Credit Line: Purchased with funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Milton F. Rosenthal and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Feinberg; A. Augustus Healy Fund, Frank L. Babbott Fund, and the Designated Purchase Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Koma-Inu (Mouth Closed); One of Pair, Early 13th century. Hinoki (cypress wood) with traces of polychrome, 21 x 11 1/4 in. (53.3 x 28.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Milton F. Rosenthal and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Feinberg; A. Augustus Healy Fund, Frank L. Babbott Fund, and the Designated Purchase Fund, 85.171.2. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 85.171.1_85.171.2_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    • Record Completeness: Good (68%)
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