In the Japanese tradition the sacred space of the Shinto shrines and the Buddhist temples is delimited by gates, protected by statues of guardians. Although the representations differ between the two religions, they have in common their role of warding out evil spirits and the fact that they are made in pairs.
Photographed here is an old statue of a Nio guardian at the gate of the Yamadera temple. The Nio guardians are two benevolent Buddhist kings represented with intense looks, one with the mouth open and one with the mouth closed, spelling together the first syllable of the mantra AUM.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: