Gallery I – Guardian of the four Quarters

The mythological Guardian of the four Quarters are both invoked as protectors from the outward dangers and prayed to for material richness. They frequently protect the entrances to monasteries and temples and ward off evil influences from all four directions. From the later role drives the short from their names, each cardinal point being appended the attribute of  king: the Kings of the North, South, West and East. The designation of king recalls the legend relating how they were taken into the Buddhist pantheon. All four kings originally derive from the Indian pantheon. On hearing Buddha Shakyamuni preaching his sermons, they joined his followers. The Buddha then made each on the protector of the cardinal point at which he was sitting in the circle around him. Since that time they have protected the world from malevolent demons that threatens humankind and Buddhist teachings. They reside on Meru, the Holly Mountain, from where they protect us. As a sign of their readiness to defend, they are represented wearing heavy leather armor reminiscent of Central Asian Warriors. With the exception of one who wields a sword, they none the less hold pacific attributes in their hand.