Tuesday, September 22, 2009
It took me a long time to find out about this statue as I can find nothing similar anywhere else. It is located in Mitaki Dera, my favorite site in Hiroshima City. Many people refer to it as a Nio, but it is not. It is one of the Shitenno, the 4 Heavenly Kings.
Originally Hindu deities, in Japanese buddhism the shitenno are associated with protection of the 4 directions. Tamonten, also known as Bishamonten, is probably the most well known of the shitenno. Which of the four this one is I don't know.
The clue that it is a shitenno and not a nio is that under its foot, and in this particular statue also being hurled from its left hand, are Jaki ( or Jyaki), a type of demon or malevolent spirit.