Stone  30   Bato Kannon
 reference nr :   ST30    Price excl shipping  Euro  750
Of Kannon Bosatsu's 33 manifestations, only one, Bato-Kannon, glowers menacingly upon the world. In Japan, Bato-Kannon's irate glare is generally held to express the notion that anger, if properly focused, can be a positive force in clearing away the obstacles on one's path to enlightenment. Although Bato-Kannon is generally believed to derive from the Hindu deity Hayagriva, whose head is that of a horse, the personality and symbolic thrust of the two gods are in fact quite different, Hayagriva being depicted almost invariably as calmingly serene. An alternative view on the question of the origin of Bato-Kannon's horse-head iconography cites a Hindu myth in which Vishnu transforms himself into a large horse-head with the intention of frightening off a would-be detractor of Brahma. Inasmuch as it offers consistency in terms both of the actual iconography and its accompanying symbolic purport, the Vishnu/Brahma tale theory is persuasive.
Early Japanese depictions of Bato-Kannon, the oldest dating to the 8th century, are of wood or bronze and invariably display a wrathful mien. In the case of Bato-Kannon images in stone, the first examples seem to have appeared during the mid-Edo Period, by which time the collective popular understanding had seized upon the misapprehension that Bato-Kannon, like Kannon's 32 other manifestations, was not wrathful but compassionate. In view of the horse-head perched atop the head of all Bato-Kannon images, moreover, Bato-Kannon was popularly believed to aid and protect horses and, by extension, other working animals as well as their human masters. Only in Japan did such an interpretive shift in Bato-Kannon's personality and symbolic meaning occur, and it is therefore only in Japan that one will find a significant number of Bato-Kannon depictions. Most are executed in stone, stone being the sculptural medium most suitable for placement along roadsides and other outdoor locations where horses tend to pass or gather. The vast majority of stone examples depict Bato-Kannon not as aggressively fearsome but as serenely compassionate.
a nice Bato Kannon - Horse-head Kannon

HxWxD   :   40 x 19 x 15  cm
Condition :   see the pictures

Materials  :   hard natural stone

Origin      :   Japan

Period     :   late Edo