Female Shinto Deity

CC0 Public Domain Designation

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Date:

12th century

Artist:

Japan

About this artwork

In Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, female deities play an equally important role as their male counterparts. The earliest surviving sculptures of female Shinto deities date to the ninth century, and they often form a set with a depiction of the male deity Hachiman. In contrast to those of their companion, however, the goddesses’ identities are inexact, and such sculptures show a generic woman of the imperial court in secular dress.

Here the deity’s stiff pose and blocklike shape are reminiscent of other sculptures of this type, but her softened facial features and placid expression make it apparent that the artist was skilled beyond the level of an ordinary provincial sculptor. Her robes contain traces of a floral or medallion design.

On View

Asian Art, Gallery 103

Title

Female Shinto Deity

Origin

Japan

Date

1099–1199

Medium

Wood with traces of polychromy

Dimensions

25 × 17 × 10.8 cm (9 7/8 × 6 6/8 × 4 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with Funds Provided by the Weston Foundation; Alsdorf Acquisition Fund; Russell Tyson Endowment Fund; President's Exhibition and Acquisition Fund

Reference Number

2008.159

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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