- Museum number
- Object: 色絵狛犬 (Guardian Lion Dog)
One of a pair of koma inu (lion dogs) decorated with blue, gold and black enamels. Made of porcelain.
- Production date
Height: 31 centimetres
Length: 31 centimetres
Width: 16.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The playful lion dogs (koma-inu) are in fact a collaborative product, designed and painted by the artist Komatsu Miwa and formed and fired by Matsumoto Satoru, the 7th-generation head of the Yazaemon kiln, Arita. These lion dogs formed part of the ‘Edo Garden’ in was featured in the 2015 Chelsea Flower Garden Show and awarded a Gold Prize.
Koma-inu are considered spiritual guardians that protect entranceways. Made of wood, stone or ceramic, they are placed at the front of Shinto shrines or inside the shrine itself. Created in pairs, the one set to the right side is depicted with its mouth wide open and the one on the left with its mouth shut. The open and closed mouths are a reference to the beginning ‘a’ and the end ‘un’ of the Sanskrit alphabet, and represent a complete cycle.
The artist Komatsu Miwa appears to be particularly drawn to koma-inu. She has written that ‘I observe the weathered and decayed conditions and their current state. I listen and then hear their voices. Those voices that I hear are the voices of the prayers and worshippers’.
Komatsu’s art is performative and based around the expression of her inner visions. She worked closely with Yazaemon VII, tthe head of the Yazaemon kiln (Arita Porcelain Lab), creating a small number of pairs of koma-inu. One pair is housed in Izumo Taisha, and another is in Tozan jinja, Arita.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2017-2018 2 Nov-8 Apr, BM Gallery 35, Living with gods
London, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2015 Oct -, BM Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number