Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.
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Edo period Japanese Kangiten Buddhist Image, 1812
Please refer to our stock # MOR8146 when inquiring.
A striking red lacquered cylindrical zushi with pagoda roof housing an image of the Kangiten, a pair of embracing human figures with elephant heads in the style of the Hindu god Ganesha. Here the embracing Kangiten icon is kept under a phallic cover called the linga-kosa, when not being worshiped, and sequestered away behind closed doors. Incised into the base of the figure is the date Mid Autumn of Bunka 9 (1812) and signature Goto Mitsugi-saku. The cover is gilded in gold, then coated in transparent red lacquer in a technique called Byakudan Nuri. The red-lacquered pagoda is made of wood with brass fittings. It appears to me that many of the parts were re-purposed from some other Buddhist artifacts, and the base appears to be of considerable age. The gilt bronze image is 6 cm (2-1/2 inches) tall. The red lacquered zushi capped with a Buddhist jewel is 43 cm (17 inches) tall and both are in overall excellent original condition.
Kangiten (Kankiten) is a form of the Hindu god Ganesha in the pantheon of the ancient Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Although Kangiten is typically depicted as an elephant headed male deity, his most popular aspect is the Dual-bodied Kangiten; an elephant-headed male-female human couple standing in embrace. Paintings and gilt-bronze images of the Dual Kangiten with explicit sexual connotations emerged in the late Heian period, under the Tantric influence of Tibetan Buddhism where sexual iconography was common. The rare Japanese sexual iconography was hidden from public eye, to abide with Confucian ethics. Kangiten is regarded as protector of temples and worshiped generally by gamblers, actors, entertainers and people in the business of "pleasure". Because of Kangiten’s esoteric sexual nature, his image is often shrouded from view
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