figure with six heads, arms, and legs astride crouched bull on wood base; metal bands around wrists, some biceps, and most ankles; halo with flames attached at back; two hands of two arms together in praying position, other arms bent and flare outwards. Upper left arm holds long staff, lower one holds implement with "curly q"-shaped end. Upper right arm holds a trident. Lower right arm fingersshaped like it was holding something in hand. Three bottom heads have crystal inlay eyes. Three smaller heads on top considerably smaller.

Daiitoku Myōō, the Wisdom King of Awe-Inspiring Power, second half 13th century

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Daiitoku Myōō is meant to be intimidating. He is also known as the Wisdom King of Awe-Inspiring Power, and it is his job to defeat evil. This Buddhist guardian deity’s intense rage is manifested by his wild appearance: six legs, six arms carrying an assortment of weapons, and six glaring faces backed by a halo of flames. Daiitoku Myōō does not act alone but is one of five Great Wisdom Kings (Godai Myōō). Four of the Great Wisdom Kings occupy positions in each of the compass directions around a central deity. Each of the Wisdom Kings also guards its own Buddha. Since Daiitoku occupies the position to the west, he is associated with the wrath of Amida Buddha, whose paradise is located in the West.

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Details
Title
Daiitoku Myōō, the Wisdom King of Awe-Inspiring Power
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2013.29.1a-g
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figure with six heads, arms, and legs astride crouched bull on wood base; metal bands around wrists, some biceps, and most ankles; halo with flames attached at back; two hands of two arms together in praying position, other arms bent and flare outwards. Upper left arm holds long staff, lower one holds implement with "curly q"-shaped end. Upper right arm holds a trident. Lower right arm fingersshaped like it was holding something in hand. Three bottom heads have crystal inlay eyes. Three smaller heads on top considerably smaller.