Guardian Figure: Nio

Guardian Figure: Nio


Part of a set. See all set records

Chestnut and cypress

Overall: 167.9 cm (66 1/8 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1972.158.2



A pair of guardians usually stands at the entrance of Japanese Buddhist temples. Traditionally, the pair included a closed-mouth figure, one hand displayed as if indicating his potential power, and an open-mouth figure, expelling his full force against evil spirits. Nio figures were usually displayed outdoors, often with just the roof of the entrance gate as protection, and as such were particularly susceptible to weathering.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 

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