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Japanese cypress (hinoki) with traces of color; crystal
68.5 x 71.4 cm (26 15/16 x 28 1/8 in.); 70.2 x 70.5 cm (27 5/8 x 27 3/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2020.215
Some Japanese sculptors used to specialize in inset crystal eyes like the ones these sculptures have.
Sculptors carved these two figures to look like members of the guard who protected the Japanese aristocracy in the 10th to 12th centuries. The pair belong in the roofed gate of a Shinto shrine. Their role was to embody the divine protectors of the deities, or kami, residing at the shrine. Their inset crystal eyes make them appear vigilant.
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