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Zao Gongen


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 227

Zaō Gongen, the abiding spirit of Mount Kinpu in the Yoshino Mountains south of Nara, is a rare example of a purely Japanese deity in the Buddhist pantheon. Many of the religious practices associated with Zaō took place in remote temples deep in the mountains. Through these rites, mountain ascetics (yamabushi), practitioners of mystic sect called Shugendō, attempted to appropriate for themselves the sheer physical power of the deities.

Zao Gongen, Iron, Japan

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