Buddhist Woodcut of Bishamon-Ten

Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

Made in Japan, Asia

Early 15th century

Ink and colors on paper, hanging scroll

Other (archival box): 22 x 3 1/2 x 3 inches (55.9 x 8.9 x 7.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Elizabeth Wandell Smith Fund, 1966

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Bishamonten is one of the Four Heavenly Kings (lokapālas) of Buddhism who watch over the cardinal directions. This warrior-like guardian of the north is believed to provide protection for people’s wealth and fortune in the folklore tradition. Typically depicted in intricate armor, Bishamonten holds a spear in one hand, symbolizing his martial power. The small pagoda in the other hand is a treasure house from which he distributes fortune to his worthy followers.