Dosojin road-guardian stone in the form of Kannon Bosatsu and Amida Nyorai standing side-by-side, the hands of Kannon bearing aloft a lotus-form dais and those of Amida forming the Amida Jo-in concentration mudra. Muromachi Period ca. 1550, possibly earlier. Very minor old loss.
Height: 56.3 cm
Width: 40.5 cm
Depth: 23.0 cm.
Dosojin is the Japanese Shinto manifestation of an originally Chinese Taoist deity charged with guarding the border between this world and hell. Believed to obstruct the passage of evil spirits and gods of disease into human communities, Dosojin is associated particularly with roads, crossroads, mountain passes, village boundaries, and travel generally.
By the mid-Edo Period ca. 1750, the most commonly observed form of Dosojin is a human male/female couple standing or seated side by side. Earlier examples, on the other hand, feature two Buddhist deities standing or seated side-by-side. Jizo Bosatsu, as the honjibutsu, or Buddhist counterpart, of Dosojin, is the deity most commonly depicted in the case of Buddhist-style Dosojin stones. The piece offered herein, depicting the Raigo form of Kannon Bosatsu and Amida Nyorai, is an intriguing departure from the norm.
Dosojin stones have a talismanic, as opposed to memorial, function and are therefore avidly sought out by collectors of stone in Japan. This is an outstanding example of type, impressively scaled and elegantly sculpted, with significant age.