Gigaku Mask Garuda

Asuka period, 7th century

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

The name Karura refers to the sacred bird Garuda that eats poisonous snakes and appears in ancient myths in India and Southeast Asia. For people in the southern regions, who were always exposed to the risks of poisonous snakes, etc., Garuda was a benefactor for their lives and thus it may be natural that it was deified. Garuda was adopted in Buddhism as one of the Buddhist Eight Deva Guardians. Its upward-swinging curved beak and keen eyes well represent the nature of these fearless birds that fly in southern harsh climates and defeat poisonous snakes. The mask is predominantly painted in Montpellier green and red, with ultramarine applied to the area around its eyes and gold leaf applied to its eyeballs.

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  • Title: Gigaku Mask Garuda
  • Date Created: Asuka period, 7th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w220 x h286 mm
  • Object Title: 伎楽面 迦楼羅
  • Object Notes(Japanese): 迦樓維という名はインドや東南アジア地方でいうガルーダで、古代の神話にでてくる毒蛇を喰う霊鳥である。常に毒蛇などの危険にさらされていた南方の人びとにとっては、このガルーダこそ生命の恩人であり、神格化されるのも当然であろう。仏教にもこれを取入れ、八部衆の一つの組入れられているほどである。その尖った嘴、鋭い目付きなど、南方の強烈な風土のなかを飛びまわって毒蛇を倒すという精悍な鳥の姿をよくまとめあげている。彩色は緑青と朱を基調に、眼の周には群青、眼のなかには金箔を施している。
  • Object Date: 飛鳥時代・7世紀
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: http://www.emuseum.jp/detail/100769/008