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Guardian figure, one of a pair: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Ni-o_, literally "two kings," are guardian images which flank the entrances of Buddhist temples. Befitting their role as protectors of the Buddhist faith, they are usually depicted as ferocious, semi-nude figures with exaggerated musculature and facial expressions. They are represented as uttering the cosmic sounds of "a" (open-mouthed) and "un" the first and last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizing the beginning and ending of all things, thus reminding us of the brevity of life. The hyper-realism and full-plasticity of these figures was achieved through the yosegi technique of multiple block construction. Originally, both images would have been brightly painted over a layer of black lacquer.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009