Zōchōten, the Guardian of the South

Anonymous artist

Anonymous artist - Zōchōten, the Guardian of the South
The wooden statuette covered in lavish polychromy represents the deity Zōchōten, the guardian of the south. Statues of the so-called Four Heavenly Kings Shitennō were made in Japan’s capital Nara starting in the 8th century. They guarded the safety of 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. Here, Zōchōten defeats a demon lying on a rock under his feet; he originally held a spear in his raised right arm.
measurements: height 42,5 cm
material: Wood
technique: Polychromy
inventory number: Vp 78
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art