The Nio statues glaring at the entrance of Buddhist temples and the guardian dogs sitting at the entrance of Shinto shrines are placed to protect the precincts, which are a sanctuary. The gods enshrined in the precincts, whether Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples, must be beyond human comprehension. However, they are not omniscient and omnipotent, so they need something to protect them.
The word "beyond human knowledge" literally means beyond human wisdom, not necessarily superior in arm strength. Indeed, Buddhist statues are often feminine in appearance. Such is the case with the National Treasure Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) figure in the Chugu-ji Temple in Nara. It has a soft face with an archaic smile, and its eyes are downcast as it holds its fingers to its mouth. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees the statue as a woman examining the ingredients in a supermarket. In Shinto, there are many women, such as Amaterasu no Mikoto.
In other words, to protect a noble being with inferior physical strength, a stern object was placed at the entrance. The ideal situation is that if something evil tries to enter the precincts, it will see the stern object waiting at the entrance and give up. In this day and age, the phrase "security cameras are operating" might be the equivalent.
|Aug 2021 STILL LIFE TOKYO|
|GLANCE GUARDIAN DOG SHINAGAWA SHRINE TRAIN|
August 1, 2021
November 10, 2021
Still Life Photography
RICOH GR III