Auxiliary Statues in the Hall of the Great Buddha

large bronze butterfly ornament

This is an endearing sight to an avid butterfly watcher like myself.

Butterflies like this one (obviously a swallowtail like some of the butterflies I photographed in Japan) were part of the crest of some Japanese samurai families, but I'm not sure what the exact significance of this one is.

This spooky looking statue sits outside the Hall of the Great Buddha, scaring the children!

It's pretty weather beaten, but I'm not sure how old it is or what its significance is, since there was no English explanation.   It was a little larger than life size.

You can just see this statue in the first photo of the webpage showing the Hall of the Great Buddha - walking up the right hand side of the stairs, as you get to the top he's immediately on the right.

weather-beaten statue outside the Hall of the Great Buddha
natural light photo of large wooden statue holding paintbrush and scroll

This is one of two wooden statues inside the Hall of the Great Buddha, both about 20 feet tall.   This one was behind and on the right-hand side of the Buddha.

Both statues represent Heavenly Guardians, this one is called Komokuten.

Although he looks pretty war-like, the figure is carrying a paintbrush in one hand and a scroll in the other. 

You can see in this photograph the difficulty of getting photos inside the hall.   Parts are either too brightly lit or too dimly lit.

Whoomph!   That's better!   I had to buy a new flash for my camera while I was in Tokyo (I went to the electronics mecca at Akihabara), and you can see that it does the job well.   I was surprised to see even the ceiling and beams well lit in this wide-angle photo of the same statue.   Just like the Giant Buddha, you can see how a change of angle and lighting makes it look totally different.

flash photo of large wooden statue carrying paintbrush and scroll

Here's the other statue, on the left hand side of the Buddha.

It looks like an orb in his right hand, and a staff in the other.

The name of this Heavenly Guardian is Tamonten.

natural light photo of statue with orb and staff

This photo gives a better view of the orb.   The statue is pretty naturalistic, with the fingers of his hand all at different, and awkward, angles.   You can see that it was once painted, but almost all of the paint has fallen off., and just the gold leaf is left.

flash photo of statue with orb and staff

This kid has it way too easy!

Anyone who can get through the hole in this pillar is guaranteed Enlightenment.  The hole is said to be the same width as the Great Buddha's nostril.  Aren't you glad I told you that?

If you're an adult who wants to take this shortcut, the trick is supposed to be to get your arms through first, and then hope that the rest of you makes it afterwards!

child crawling out of Enlightenment Hole
large gilded female figure alongside the Great Buddha

This large statue sits on the left hand side of the Great Buddha.

She's about the same height as the wooden statues.   Perhaps it's a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

There, that's more like it.   Somehow the front-on photos just don't convey how impressive these statues are.

closeup flash photo of gold-covered goddess