Pair of Guardian Kings (Niō)

Overall: 167.9 cm (66 1/8 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

This is one of a pair of guardian kings, or Nio. Their fierce expressions and postures indicate their protective function.


These wrathful protectors of Buddhism would have once stood within the sides of the main entrance gate to a temple. One has an open mouth that intones the sound ah, and symbolizes the beginning, or life.One has a closed mouth that intones the sound un, and symbolizes the end, or death.
Pair of Guardian Kings (Niō)

Pair of Guardian Kings (Niō)


Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333)

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