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December 1st, 2006

Koma-Inu Two

Koma-Inu are a pair of guardian dogs. They are placed to guard the shrine against all kinds of evil. Usually, the right-hand (facing the gate) statue is a lion with his mouth open and the left-hand statue is a dog, with his mouth closed. The dog’s features (open/close) originated from “a-hum in Sanskrit, the literary language of ancient India. Most of their looks are ferocious to threaten an evil sprit, but some of them are lovely. There are four kinds of shapes, such as sitting down, bending forepaw down to rise his haunches, holding a ball under his foot, and having a baby at his feet. Koma-Inu is an ancient Egyptian lion originally. An image of a lion went over to India, and became Buddha’s protection beast. Then, it was introduced into Japan from the Korean Peninsula via China through the Silk Road.