Guardian of the North Ritual Mirror (Bishamonten Kyōzō)

Guardian of the North Ritual Mirror (Bishamonten Kyōzō)



Silvered bronze

Diameter: 15.3 cm (6 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1977.32


Bishamonten, the Buddhist guardian of the North, appears here with an entourage. Early votive mirrors like this one are called kyōzō, literally “mirrors with images.” One theory is that they appeared along with the development of Shinto-Buddhist combinatory thought, in which specific Buddhist deities were identified with specific kami, or Shinto deities. In this theory, sacred mirrors venerated as proxies for kami came to be incised with images of Buddhist deities. Another idea is that they developed in the context of Esoteric Buddhist ritual.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 

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