ShippodoShippodo 新古美術七寳堂
Edo Period Era Esoteric 12 Devas Suiten Varuna

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Devotional Objects: Pre 1700: Item # 1193038

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Edo Period Era Esoteric 12 Devas Suiten Varuna
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A sword in one hand, a dragon or snake-like figure near its side on the other. On its head is several heads of snakes. The image was part of a set of twelve representing the protective wrathful figures for each zodiac. The formal name of the set is Juniten-zou, or 12 Devas. The set of twelve were thought to protect the 12 directions. Suiten or Varuna, is the personification of the heavens and the lord of the sun gods. Also the deity is closely related to bodies of water. Interestingly the deity holds snakes, water snakes, often seen in the natural environment in Japan, is possibly is associated with the deity. However snakes are also closely connected to Benzaiten.

It is amazing that this painting survived the haibutsu kishaku law in 1872 where Buddhism was temporarily banned from Japan and a majority of Buddhist art was lost from this law. Researchers in the field have considered it Japan's cultural revolution.

Additionally, further examination of catalogues in collections throughout Japan show Varuna independent from the 12 Deva set. This separation might suggest the importance of the deity for local farmers who need rain for bountiful harvests.

Age: 1600-1780.

52cm x 150.5cm or 20.4" x 59.2"

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