Nio Statue at the Entrance to the Kamakura Daibutsu, Japan
Close up on the face of one of the Nio Statues or Kongorikishi at the entrance gate to the Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. This temple houses the Great Buddha of Kamakura, a 30 foot tall bronze statue of Amidha Buddha built in 1252 AD, also known as the Kamakura Daibutsu.
The Nio are a pair of figures symbolizing the opposite forces of the Universe (birth and death, open and closed, up and down...), similar to the Christian Alpha and Omega. This particular figure is known as Misshaku Kongo or Agyo, the "Ah" of the pair which symbolize Ah and Un.
According to Japanese tradition, this pair traveled with Gautama Buddha as protectors, defending the Buddha and the values and beliefs of Buddhism against evil.
Remarkably, this statue is made to appear even more lifelike with the dripping of some of the red paint from its face into its eyes, making them appear bloodshot and adding to the effect of the reflective gold paint within them.
Photographed in summer 2019.
Image dimensions: 5472 x 3648 pixels