Antique Japanese pair of boxwood okimono Nio. The Nio are guardians to Buddhist temples, and enforcers of physical confrontation to fight back against evil. Nio are typically placed on either side of a temple door. One statue, named Misshaku Kongo or Agyo, has an open mouth to represent the first sound in the Sanskrit language "a", symbolizing birth and overt violence. The other statue is called Nareen Kongo or Ungyo and has a closed mouth to represent the last sound in Sanskrit "hum", symbolizing death and latent strength. They are hand-carved with incredible detailing and patina.
Each statue is signed on the base "Kogetsu".
19th century Late Edo / Early Meiji
Size: 4" x 3" x 7.75" H