Description In the Buddhist pantheon, Bishamonten is the chief of the four Guardian Kings who guard the cardinal directions. He protects the north and is shown holding a lance and a small pagoda. The pagoda symbolizes a treasure house of spiritual wealth that he protects. He also appears as one of the seven gods of good fortune in folk beliefs. In that context, he is considered the god of warriors. This makes him a particularly appropriate decoration for a tsuba. The reverse shows a pine tree, which is also considered a sign of good fortune. The branches from this pine tree appear along the upper border of the front side, as well.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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