You are here:

Zao Gongen

Zao Gongen

13th century

Wood

Average: 106.7 cm (42 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1973.105

Description

The Shugendo sect, popular in the mountain regions of Japan, draws on aspects of both Buddhism and Shinto. Zao Gongen, the spirit of Mount Kimpu, is venerated in this sect as a protective deity. According to legend, the founder of Shugendo prayed for a deity that could be the salvation of all sentient beings, and the fierce Zao Gongen rose to the challenge. The fierceness of this figure’s appearance with his wild hair, blue-black complexion, and fangs are emblematic of his power to aid the faithful. In his right hand he holds a vajra (thunderbolt), symbolic of the power of Buddhism.

See also
Collection: 
Japanese Art
Department: 
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Wood

Contact us

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar.