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Twelve Heavenly Deities (Devas)
Important Cultural Property
12 hanging scrolls
Ink, color and gold on silk. Hanging scrolls
H 122.7, W 41.8
Kamakura period/13th century
Provenance: Daiho-in Temple, Mie Prefecture
Nara National Museum
Juni-Ten is derived from the Indian Devas and adapted to Buddhism as guardian deities. They were originally established as Happou-Ten and included Taishaku-Ten (east), Ka-ten (south east), Enma-Ten (south), Rasetsu-Ten (south west), Sui-Ten (west), Fuu-Ten (north west), Bishamon-Ten (north) and Ishana-Ten (north east) and placed in each direction. The other four included Bon-Ten (heaven), Ji-Ten (earth), Nitten (sun) and Gatten (moon) and were added to make Juni-Ten. The earliest painting of Juni-ten drawn in Japan is the one held in Saidai-ji Temple in Nara followed by the one held in To-ji Temple in Kyoto, which was drawn at the same time as Godaison in 1127. These were used for the large rituals of esoteric Buddhism such as Goshichinichi Mishiho. Just like these paintings, paintings with the Buddhist image standing on a Kayouza (lotus-leaf base), a Mousenza or a rising cloud and Shuji on the upper part have the style of the Juni-Ten Byobu (folding screen) used for Kanjo rituals. It seems they started to be used as replacements for Juni-Ten Gyodo in the late Heian period and there are precedent works including the painting drawn by Takuma Shoga in 1191 that is held at To-ji Temple and others held at Jingo-ji Temple in Kyoto and Shojuraigo-ji Temple in Shiga, etc. This was probably originally in the style of a folding screen.

The design is very different from those held in To-ji Temple and Jingo-ji Temple (same as the painting of Shojuraigo-ji Temple) and it has unique features in that Bon-Ten has one face and four arms instead of four faces and Ji-Ten is drawn with a flower vase instead of Morihana (flowers in a basket or low pot) in hands and the Nitten is drawn only with lotus flowers instead of a Nichirin (sun disk). The lines are firmly drawn and the Kumadori (shading) technique is strongly applied. Colorful patterns and gold paint called Kindei are applied on the clothing. The solid style of these paintings is favorable and they have received attention as valuable works of Juji-Ten Byobu from the Kamakura period.