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Batō Kannon, Heian period, 12th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Painting on Silk, H = 166.1, W = 82.7 cm Courtesy: The AMICA Libraryorse-Headed Kannon. Batō Kannon appears in the Mahāvairocana Sūtra (Jp. In this latter role, Batō protects those reborn in the animal realm (chikushōdō 畜生道), a realm characterized by stupidity and servitude.
= Dainichikyō 大日經; composed sometime in the 6th / 7th century AD) and other tantric texts. Effigies of the Six Kannon began appearing in Japan in the early-mid 10th century onward and were prayed to for the welfare of the dead. = Vidyārāja), the warlike and wrathful deities of Esoteric Buddhism. In Japan, farmers pray to Batō Kannon for the safety and preservation of their horses and cattle.
Batō is sometimes found in sets of the Six Kannon, but independent images dating from the Heian period (794-1185) are rare.
Well-known examples dating from the Kamakura and Muromachi periods include the standing statues in Kanzeonji Temple 観世音寺 in Fukuoka prefecture and Jōruriji (Joruriji) Temple 浄瑠璃寺 in Kyoto, as well as the painted image of seated Batō in the Boston Museum of Art.
"Horse-shaped") shrines, which are found all over Japan. She is especially honored by the horse breeders in northern Japan.