Stunning Japanese Edo Meiji Nio Figures Lacquer Wood
STUNNING JAPANESE EDO MEIJI NIO FIGURES LACQUER WOOD. 469858 - A stunning pair of Nio figures that are carved in a most masterful manner. Covered with lacquer and slightly faded with time this pair makes a statement for even the most advanced collection of Buddist Shinto items. Look closely and you will be amazed with the striking poses and detail. Circa 1850 and true masterpieces. Condition is very good with only a couple of minor age splits on back as testament to their age. They stand a fit 8 tall and are unique in every sense of the word. The Nio (Benevolent Kings) are a pair of protectors who stand guard outside the temple gate at most Japanese Buddhist temples, one on either side of the entrance. In Japan, the gate itself is often called the Nio-mon (literally Nio Gate). Their fierce and threatening appearance wards off evil spirits and keeps the temple ground free of demons and thieves. In some accounts, the Nio were said to have followed and protected the historical Buddha when he traveled throughout India.
They have since been adopted by the Japanese into the Japanese Buddhist pantheon. Each is named after a particular cosmic sound. The open-mouthed figure is called "Agyo, " who is uttering the sound "ah, " meaning birth.
His closed-mouth partner is called "Ungyo, " who sounds "un" or "om, " meaning death. Other explanations for the open/closed mouth include: (1) mouth open to scare off demons, closed to shelter/keep in the good spirits; (2) "Ah" is the first letter in the Sanskrit alphabet and "Un" is the last (same in Japanese syllabary too), so the combination symbolically represents all possible outcomes (from alpha to omega) in the cosmic dance of existence. The item "STUNNING JAPANESE EDO MEIJI NIO FIGURES LACQUER WOOD" is in sale since Wednesday, October 13, 2010.
This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\Japan\Other Japanese Antiques". The seller is "coin_guys" and is located in Leawood, Kansas. This item can be shipped to North, South, or Latin America, all countries in Europe, all countries in continental Asia, Australia.