Name/TitleStatues of three kami, Matsunoo Taisha (松尾大社), Kyoto, ICP
About this objectGods or kami (神) in Japan before the introduction of Buddhism were believed to reside in the landscape, in rocks, trees, mountains and the sea, and to have no tangible form. They were therefore not represented as statues. After the introduction of Buddhist statuary, kami began to be represented in figural form, probably from the 8th century. Such statues were then believed to be a dwelling place for the god. They were depicted as Buddhist clergy or as lay people and the traditional systems of belief coalesced into what is now called Shinto (神道) - Way of the Gods.
These three 9th century statues of two male and a female kami from Matsunoo Taisha (松尾大社), Kyoto, are among the earliest surviving examples.
Date Made9th century
Subject and Association KeywordsEncounters
Subject and Association DescriptionLearn More: Greve 2014; Vilbar 2019.
Medium and MaterialsWood with pigment
Credit LineMatsunoo Taisha Shrine
Object numberEXH46: Japan ICP