Koma-Inu (Mouth Closed); One of Pair
On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
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.
Hinoki (cypress wood) with traces of polychrome
early 13th century
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 Designated Purchase Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
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 Designated Purchase Fund, 85.171.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 85.171.1_85.171.2_PS9.jpg)
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.