seated male figure holding a court noble's scepter, with face and hairstyle of a Bosatsu; mounted to plaque on back; legs folded in lotus position

Shinto God, 12th-13th century

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Although Shinto deities often appear in the form of Japanese aristocrats, the appearance of this paired god and goddess reflects a unique blend of foreign and native dress that demonstrates the strong influence of Buddhism on Shinto imagery. The male deity with his meditative pose, urna (the dot on his forehead), elongated ears, and crown appears more like a bodhisattva, a type of Buddhist deity. The female deity wears a robe with pleated sleeves and frilled collar, which reflects Chinese dress of the Song dynasty (960–1279). Carved from single blocks of wood, with the artist’s chisel marks visible, the god and goddess sit before wooden plaques painted to suggest trifold screens decorated with pines, rolling hills, and birds.

Exhibitions
Details
Title
Shinto God
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.265.1a-c
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 564a
Curator Approved

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seated male figure holding a court noble's scepter, with face and hairstyle of a Bosatsu; mounted to plaque on back; legs folded in lotus position