Thursday, July 1, 2010
This pair of Nio, temple guardians, stand guard at the entrance to Chokokuji temple in Taisha Town. near Inasa beach, not far from Izumo Taisha.
Sometimes called Kongorikishi, this pair features quite detailed painting.
The one on the right, with his mouth closed is called Ungyo, the one on the left with opened mouth is called Agyo.
Nio were introduced into Japan in the 7th or 8th century from China. Originally based on Hindu deities, it is suggested that they may even have been influenced by Heracles, the Greek God.
Other photos of Nio can be seen here