The wooden statue covered in lacquered polychromy represents the god Tamonten, the guardian of the north. Statues of the so-called Four Heavenly Kings Shitennō were made in Japan’s capital Nara starting in the 8th century. They guarded the four directions (Jikokuten guards the east, Zōchōten the south, Kōmokuten the west and Tamonten the north; and Taishakuten guards the fifth direction – the centre). These muscular, fully armed guardians with awesome looks were inspired by the Hindu deva guardians. They often stand triumphantly on demons jaki, who writhe under their feet. They are frequently installed near the entrance to Buddhist monasteries.