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Tobatsu Bishamonten

late 10th century

The guardian Tobatsu Bishamonten stands on the shoulders of the Buddhist earth goddess Jiten, whose representation here closely resembles images of a deity in the Japanese indigenous religion Shinto. Images of Tobatsu Bishamonten were brought to Japan from China, where he was revered for protection of the capital and repulsion of foreign invaders. The oldest one in Japan was a wooden statue, which was placed at the main entrance to Heiankyo (present-day Kyoto), Japan’s capital of the Heian period, to protect the city. That statue provided the prototype for subsequent works such as the one here.
Wood, gesso, and polychrome
48 1/2 x 21 x 14in. (123.2 x 53.3 x 35.6cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
48.179
Photo: Paul Macapia
location
Now on view at the Asian Art Museum

Resources

Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Luminous: The Art of Asia", October 13, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Tokyo, Japan, Suntory Museum of Art, "Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum", July 25 - September 6, 2009; Tour Schedule: Kobe City Museum, September 19 - December 6, 2009; Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, December 23, 2009 - February 28, 2010; MOA Museum of Art, March 13 - May 9, 2010; Fukuoka Art Museum, May 23 - July 19, 2010

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Fall and Winter in Japan", October 22, 2002 - February 23, 2003

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Spring and Summer in Japan",
February 28, 2002 - October 13, 2002

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Discovering Buddhist Art - Seeking the Sublime", July 9, 2003 - June 3, 2005

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "A Thousand Cranes: Treasures Of Japanese Art", February 5 - July 12, 1987 (02/05/1987 - 07/12/1987)

Portland, Oregon, Portland Art Museum, "Gift to a City: Masterworks from the Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection in the Seattle Art Museum", cat. # 106
Published ReferencesBoston, Museum of Fine Arts, Ill. Catalogue of special loan exhib., "Art Treasures from Japan," (1936), No. 17

Lee, Sherman. "Japanese Art at Seattle," in Oriental Art, Winter 1949-1950, p. 90

"Handbook, Seattle Art Museum: Selected Works from the Permanent Collections." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1951, p. 86 (b&w)

Fuller, Richard E. "Japanese Art in the Seattle Art Museum: An Historical Sketch." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1960 ("Presented in commemoration of the Hundredth Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and the United States of America"), no. 34

"Gift to a City: Masterworks From the Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection in the Seattle Art Museum," Portland, OR: Portland Art Museum, 1965, no. 105.

Mayuyama, Junkichi, "Japanese Art in the West," (1966), no. 19

Granoff, Phyllis. "Tobatsu Bishamon: Three Japanese Statues in the United States and an Outline of the Rise of This Cult in East Asia," in East and West, Vol. 20, No. 1/2 (March-June 1970), pp. 144-168, p. 145, 161 fig. 1

H. Trubner Wm. J. Rathbun, C.A. Kaputa, "Asiatic Art in the Seattle Art Museum," (1973), p. 210, no. 179

Trubner, Henry. "Asian Art in the Seattle Art Museum: Fifty Years of Collecting." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1983, p. 6, illus. color

"Selected Works." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1991, p. 185

Kawai, Masatomo, Yasuhiro Nishioka, Yukiko Sirahara, editors, "Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum", 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun, catalogue number 4

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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