#ACC2 A Pair of Mid16th Century Carved 'Baku'

Baku' are mythical creatures of Japanese folklore, with the head, tusks and trunk of an elephant, with the claws, fur and body of a lion.

Often depicted as in this case with flames leading off from the shoulders. Despite their fearsome appearance, they are gentle beasts, believed to devour bad dreams and ward off ill fortune.

This pair have come from a very substantial temple gate; they would have been mounted on the main horizontal pillar under the eaves of the roof. One 'baku' with its mouth open, the other with its mouth closed symbolising the circle of life and death.

The very bold style of carving is typical of the late Muromachi period.

Dimensions: Each carving is 83cm long X 44cm high.