Past Exhibitions

Buddhist Guardian Deities
March 31, 2015 - June 28, 2015

Buddhist guardian deities are protectors of the faith itself and of its believers. There are four categories of deity in Buddhism, Tathagata (ones who have attained Buddhahood); Bodhisattva (enlightened beings); Vidyaraja (Wisdom Kings); and Deva (benevolent supernatural beings that dwell on the heavenly plane), and guardian deities belong to this last category. They are a diverse group including gods derived from ancient Indian religion, such as Brahma and Indra, as well as the Four Heavenly Kings (Shitenno), the Eight Legions (including Asura), and the Twelve Heavenly Generals. The Four Heavenly Kings and the Twelve Heavenly Generals were often depicted on armor to protect the wearer from enemies in battle. Dreadful demons such as yaksha and rakshasa were incorporated into Buddhism from Hinduism, and in some cases it was believed that the great power of these spirits had been transferred into the protective deities of Buddhism.

Japanese and Asian Sculpture
March 31, 2015 - June 28, 2015

A Message to Museum Visitors

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