A pair of Japanese wooden carvings of the Nio, or wrathful guardians to the Buddha. While Buddhism beliefs are typically pacifist, the Nio justified physical force in order to defend against evil and are usually found on either side of a temple door. The Nio called Misshaku Kongo or Agyo keeps his mouth open to represent the first sound in the Sanskrit language "a", symbolizing birth and overt violence. The other Nio is called Nareen Kongo or Ungyo and has a closed mouth to represent the last sound in Sanskrit "hum", symbolizing death and latent strength. These wood statues are carved skillfully and have gilt accenting. 20th century.
Size: 23" height, 11" width, 7" depth