Skip Navigation

Standing Figure of Buddhist Guardian

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
This relatively small figure of a fierce warrior likely depicts one of twelve heavenly generals who were installed in a circle to guard an image of the Buddha of Healing (Yakushi Nyorai) in a Buddhist temple. Dressed in Chinese-style armor, he held a spear or trident, warding off anyone who might threaten the Buddhist faith. An inscription—on the tenon attaching the bottom of one foot to its pedestal—suggests that the image was carved by a sculptor named Joga, whose name also appears on sculptures made for Kōfuku-ji, a major Buddhist temple in Nara.
MEDIUM Wood sculpture with traces of polychromy
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 13th-14th century
    PERIOD Kamakura Period
    DIMENSIONS 23 7/16 x 11 5/8 in. (59.5 x 29.5 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 61.1
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund and Museum Collection Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    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 (charges apply). 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 copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
    CAPTION Standing Figure of Buddhist Guardian, 13th-14th century. Wood sculpture with traces of polychromy, 23 7/16 x 11 5/8 in. (59.5 x 29.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund and Museum Collection Fund, 61.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 61.1_front_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 61.1_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    "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.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The piece has been attributed to "Joga" on the basis of a signed sculpture from the same set now in the Nara Museum. (This sculptor has not been further identified.) Since the attributes, originally held in each hand, are now lost, positive identification of this figure is impossible, but he appears to be one of the twelve divine generals. "Yoseki" or multiple block construction with hollow center. Originally the piece was entirely polychromed. Traces of fabric which covered the joins, a small area of gilt and lacquer pattern, and traces of polychrome remain. Condition: repairs on left shoulder and right elbow. Small details of drapery broken off. Modern "cloud-shaped" stand.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS
    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.