Esipova M.V. Musical Iconography of Sanjksangen-dM Temple in Kyoto - Hidden Meanings

Musical Iconography of Sanjūsangen-dō Temple in Kyoto - Hidden Meanings

M.V. Esipova

This paper discusses musical and iconographic concept of the temple. Statues of deities holding musical instruments and guarding the Thousand-armed Kannon are herein described one after another. Common features are traced between the images of certain deities from Sanjūsangen-dō, musical iconography of the Dunhuang temple and ancient cultures of South-Eastern Asia. The function of attribute musical instruments dating back to esoteric Hindu and Buddhism practices (nada-yoga) is reviewed.

Key words: Buddhism, musical iconography, statue, Sanjūsangen-dō temple.

Daniil Zatochnik (12th - 13th cent.) "Brotherhood, let us toot the intellect of our minds like trumpets of gold, and let us start thumping silver gongsin order tocommunicate wisdom, and let us strike the tambourines of our minds".

Owing to historical features of evolution of the Japanese culture, the Japanese Buddhism iconography (including its musical component) has relayed to us many ancient traditions that had come to Japan from the continent where they were lost later on[1]. Buddhism became the official state religion of Japan in 538, and a variety of Buddhist trends and sects including the earliest ones found their way into it; they complimented one another, interacted with one another and fused with Shintoism. For several centuries, they kept importing a variety of continental Buddhist graphic art pieces created by adepts of different religious sects to Japan, where there was an ongoing process of their replication and "Japanization". Local artists began to present their work since themid-7th century, but for a long while after that, foreign (Korean and Chinese) artists kept working in Japan. However, not just those factors defined the features of Japanese musical iconography; cobwebs of its images are linked not just with Buddhism, but with Hinduism (Brahmanism), which had been incorporated by Buddhism, as well. It preserved and "froze up" early phases of evolution of the continental Buddhist iconographic canon,following in the footsteps of Chinese manuals / rules (giki in Japanese) governing the creation of Buddhist statues and paintings, which were imported into Japan from China in the days of the Tang dynasty (9th century) and passed on over centuries from masters to their apprentices (such manuals and rules were first published in the mid-Edo period).

Unique examples of Japanese Buddhist iconography, including musical iconography, can be observed in magnificent statues of the Sanjūsangen-dō temple in Kyoto owned by Tendai, a major Buddhist sect[2].

The temple was built in 1164 (i.e. in the end of Heian period) on instructions of ex-emperor Go-Shirakawa[3]by a noble man of his household, Taira-no Kiyomori (1118-1181), one of the first representatives of military aristocracy.The official name is Rengeō-in (the Hall of Lotus King).In 1249 the fire destroyed the temple. In 1266, the main hall of the temple was restored. It underwent a number of restorations and survived to this day. The name Sanjūsangen-dō, which literally means "the hall if thirty three spans", became common for the temple (33 spans between the pillars of the long wooden pavilion, each one 1ken-long [1.81 m], are referred to).

Sanjūsangen-dō is subordinate to Myohoin, a Tendai temple, and is dedicated to Bodhisattva Kannon, or Kanzeon (Guanyin or Guanshiyin respectively in Chinese - Bodhisattva Apperceiving the Sounds of the World, or Listening to the Sounds of the World [i.e. cries for help and assistance], or else Bodhisattva Observing the Sounds of the World; Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit), or, more specifically, to apopular esoteric image of the Bodhisattva - the Thousand-armed and Eleven-faced Kannon (sanjū bosatsu [Sahasrabhudja in Sanskrit] and jūichimen bosatsu [Ekadashamukha in Sanskrit] respectively)[4]. The cult of Avalokiteshvara used to be extremely popular in Eastern, Southeastern and Central Asia; it was a dominant cult in Tibet, Cambodia (where the Bodhisattva was referred to as the most revered deity subordinate only to Buddha Shakyamuni himself), China (where the female image originated) and Korea (from the Three Kingdoms period onward). Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra is dedicated to Guanyin. In Japan, at least from the 7th century onward, Kannon became one of the most revered deities and, was likely perceived as a personification of Buddha. Kannon herself, with her ability to incarnate in a variety of images including human ones, was believed to be primarily a patroness, a protectress of people and the entire state from various disasters, and a giver of benefits.

The creators of the temple considered it a new nation-wide state sanctuary, in opposition to the Kōfukuji temple in the city of Nara built in 669 as the Fujiwara clan family temple (used to be a part of the hosso school of the so-called Nara Buddhism), which was dedicated to Sanjū Kannon as well, and patronized for many centuries by the Fujiwara family - the mightiest aristocratic family of the Heian period. Despite the dramatic history of Kōfukuji (fires, non-availability of support from the Tokugawa government), it was (and still is) revered as a treasury of the Japanese Buddhist sculpture. That is why the creators of Sanjūsangen-dō focused primarily on none other than the temple's statues. The building itself is known to be Japan's longest wooden structure these days (its length is 118 meters, width - 18 meters or16.5 meters, according to other sources); the shape and dimensions of the hall are pre-defined by its objective - accommodation of a huge number of sculptural images.

FIG. 1
Caption: Sanjūsangen-dō temple. A print by Utagawa Toyoharu, between 1767 and 1773

The temple is also famous for its magnificent (3.35m high) wooden statue of Kannon, personified as Buddha[5], sitting upon a lotus throne, created back in 1254 by the great sculptor Tankei (1173-1256), the son and apprentice of the famous Unkei (who had worked on the Kōfukuji sculptures), a representative of the kei school (keiha), as well as a thousand statutes (rows upon lifting platforms, along the two walls) of Thousand-armed Kannon on both sides of the big statue (1.65m high; some of them were created by Tankei himself), and another thirty statues of guarding deities upon separate carved platforms in front of them.

FIG. 2.

The statues were carved under the supervision of Tankei by 70 sculptors, one of whom was his son. All statues were made from Japanese cypress with the use of yosegi, or else yosegi-zukuritechnique (in essence, it is as follows: a statue is made as a number of hollow wooden blocks rather than a single piece; heads and heads are carved separately; blocks are then put together, polished, coated with lacquer and then with gold plating, or else with paint)[6].Statues of Kannon herself are gold-plated, whereas statues of guarding deities are painted. 124 statues survived the fire, and 876 were carved anew in the middle of 13th century (Kamakura period). These days, the temple itself and many of its statues have the status of "National Treasure of Japan".

As a rule, the plots of Buddhist iconography follow the lines of a particular Buddhist text. In the instance of Sanjūsangen-dō, its creators, in all likelihood, followed the lines of chapter 5 of the Ninnō-kyō (the Benevolent King Sutra) titled "Country Protection". In that chapter, Buddha says in cases of a disaster or a turmoil, the Ninnō-kyō Sutra should be read in the corresponding location, and 100 statues of Buddha and 1 000 statues of Bodhisattvas should be put up. In Japan, they had been reading that Sutra for the purposes of protection of the state since circa 7th century. Such thousand-fold images were supposed to reinforce the might of a deity, as well as their grace, a 1 000 times[7].

They call Kannon "Thousand-armed", but in reality, the statues in the temple have forty arms, each one of which symbolizes twenty-five more (each hand palm has an eye capable of seeing twenty five worlds, just like that of the Tibetan goddess Tarah). Each statue is unique: each Kannon has a unique garment, unique jewelry and unique face expression. However, all of them hold in their hands the entire set of symbolic Buddhist attributes (including a staff with six jingling rings on it - shakujō[8]in Japanese, a rei bell whose handle resembles half a vajra[9], a wheel, a sword, a mirror, etc.).

FIG. 3

This article will focus upon a number of statues of guardian deities put up in front of the Kannon statues, since some of them hold musical instruments we are interested in. In order to interpret musical and iconographic concept of the temple, we will have to refer to another iconographic source, described by N.N. Trubnikova[10]: a kakejiku "icon" (similar to Tibetan tanka) from an ancient temple of Kiyomizudera in Kyoto, depicting the main object of worship (gohonzon) - Bodhisattva Kannon (there the Bodhisattva is depicted as a man), as well as the guarding deities, since almost all the characters from Sanjūsangen-dō are also depicted in that painting[11]. That comparison will be conducted later on.

The statues of guards are different categories of deities and semi-deific creatures, for the most part Hindu, incorporated by esoteric Buddhism and re-interpreted as protectors of the Buddha teaching occupying certain (secondary) positions within the Buddhist pantheon. They are not objects of worship, yet, at the same time, they are personifications of Bodhisattva Kannon. Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke-kyō), also known as Kannon-kyō (the Kannon Sutra) lists thirty three potential personifications of Kannon - depending on the situation, she can personify herself as Buddha, a monk, a child, a dragon, a gandharva, a kinnara, a garuda, a mahoraga, etc.[12].

The appearance of a particular character in iconography is based upon a certain passage in the sacred texts, whereas the "addition" of a musical instrument to the image of a specific character within the pantheon is, in certain cases, an area of variations - both in different schools of Buddhism, and in different Buddhist sects. However, in each particular instance such "addition" is always formalized by way of a canon.

Of thirty images of deities guarding the Thousand-armed Kannon, 28 come from the Chinese esoteric Buddhism; their earliest images date back to the Dunhuang grotto temples of the Tang dynasty (618-907). They are mentioned in Buddhist texts dedicated to Bodhisattva Guanyin (Kannon) translated into Chinese. There are both male and female characters among them.

In Japan, sculptural images of the 28 guards (nijūhachi bushū in Japanese) helping the Thousand-armed Kannon and saving believers, are quite scarce, and their membership varies based on the school a particular temple is a part of, or else the traditions of a temple itself. The images of guarding deities can be observed in the Jōrokuji temple in Shiga, as well as Kōfukuji temple in Nara (though only eight out of 28 survived). Sanjūsangen-dō has a complete set of the "divine guard".

The guards include some representatives of the group of "eight divine legions" (hachibushū, or tenryū hachibushū in Japanese; tianlong babu in Chinese). They are eight groups of semi-deities of Hindu origin (dewa in Sanskrit, ten in Japanese), or eight types of supernatural beings[13]incorporated in Buddhism as the guardians of Dharma. Their sculptural (lacquer) images were first introduced in Japan in 734; back then, they "accompanied' the image of Buddha Shaka Nyōrai (Shakyamuni).

The group of guardians falling into the category of "heavenly creatures" or semi-deities (tembu/tenbu) includes: "Lords of Deities" - Daibonten (the great god Brahmā; in the Hindu religion, Brahmā is the creator of the world) and Taishakuten (Indra, who was re-named Shakra in Buddhism), two out of the four "Heavenly Kings" guarding the four cardinal directions - Taishakuten (Dhritarashtra in Sanskrit - the Heavenly King of the East) and Bishamonten (Vaishravana in Sanskrit - the Heavenly King of the North; later on became one of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japan), as well as the wife of the latter - goddess Daibenkudokuten (whose Hindu prototype was either goddess Sarasvati or goddess Lakshmi), and goddess Jimmonten (Jinmonten). In the Japanese Shinto-Buddhist version, goddess Daibenkudokuten is referred to as a manifestation of Shinto goddesses Benzaiten or Kichijōten; in Sanjūsangen-dō, she is traditionally referred to as a manifestation of goddess Kichijōten (Makhashri, Lakshmi). Note, that in the continental Vajrayana iconography, the Heavenly King of the East Dhritarashtra, as well as goddess Sarasvati from the 8th century onward are almost always depicted with lutes (since Dhritarashtra is the leader of gandharvas, or heavenly musicians, whereas Sarasvati is the leader of kinnaras, or heavenly musicians and dancers)[14], whereas in this instance both Taishakuten and Daibenkudokuten are depicted without lutes. Of all tenbu, only goddess Jimmonten (Jinmonten) is depicted with a musical instrument (cymbals). In the Sanjūsangen-dō temple sculpture, the function of gandharva, a music deity adjacent to this group (according to the Indian Buddhist classification), is quite unexpectedly assigned to a mahoraga (in the continental tradition, a divine musician of a lower rank, subordinate to dewa deities (tembu in Japanese), similar to kinnara), whereas the Lord of gandharvas (Kendatsuba-ō in Japanese) is depicted without a musical instrument. Asura demons (ashura in Japanese) and garudas, who are enemies of nagi snakes, etc., are one rank lower.

Leaders of the respective types of semi-divine beings - the Lord of garudas (statue height - 163.9cm), the Lord of mahoragas (154.8cm) and the Lord of Kinnaras (166cm) in Sanjūsangen-dō are depicted with various musical instruments from the core of the heavenly musical ensemble, judging by their composition (a lute, an hourglass-shaped drum, a side-blown flute, as well as cymbals held by goddess Jinmonten). The origin of instruments is Indian, same as the origin of the deities. However, that is not enough to consider it a classical Buddhist musical ensemble panchavadya ("five instruments") or panchamahashabda ("five great sounds")mentioned in sutras - one instrument is missing.

Later on (researches believe that it happened later, but they do not specify when), two more Buddhist-Taoist-Shinto characters were added to the 28 guards of Sanjūsangen-dō. They are the two outermost statues: Raijin, the god of thunder (statue height - 100 cm) with eight round drums and Fūjin, the god of wind (statue height - 111cm) with a wind sack upon his shoulders. In all likelihood, the appearance of those characters is, in a way, related to the text of Lotus Sutra[15].

In Buddhist graphic arts, musical instruments are referred to as bearers of a special sacral power; they discharge a number of functions one of which is iconographic (visual) offering of music for the satisfaction of hearing (one of the five senses) of the core deity (Sanjū Kannon in this instance). Since Sanjūsangen-dō is, in essence, a huge altar, that function of music is likely to be present. However, had the objective been a depiction of none other than a musical ensemble, the musician characters would have been placed together, whereas in Sanjūsangen-dō there are other guardian deities in between them, i.e. they are remote from one another and placed on different sides of the hall. In Buddhism, music serves one more purpose, discharges a preventive function related to the objective of statues of deities and guardian semi-deities - elimination of all potential negative manifestations or protection form the latter through harmonization of space vibrations. There is one yet another function of musical instruments under review, which is related to the metaphysical interpretation of the notion of "sound" and cannot be traced in the Buddhist monumental text known to us, but is identifiable when one turns to Hindu texts (note that almost all guardian deities, as well as personifications of Kannon have Hindu origin). That issue will be revisited later on, meanwhile let us review the images of musicians, as well as their instruments.


The Lord of mahoragas (Makora-ō or Makura-ō in Japanese) is a character from the Hindu pantheon whose image is vague. He is believed to be the lord of snakes and dragons (in the Chinese tradition he is a snake himself); in terms of functions, he is close to Vajrayana Buddhism dharmapālas (deities protecting the Buddhist teaching, as well as all adepts of Buddhism). However, in the group of 28 guardians of the Sanjūsangen-dō temple, the Lord of mahoragas is depicted with a lute (veena in Sanskrit) - one of the main symbols of divine music, the instrument that is the metaphor of the Buddha teaching itself[16]. The following may cause this: according to the Buddhist hierarchy, mahoragas are subordinate to Shakra (Indra, or Taishakuten in Japanese) whereas Shakra himself is sometimes depicted with a lute in the continental Vajrayana Buddhism. As noted above, in Sanjūsangen-dō, Taishakuten, who is included in the 28 guardians, does not have a lute[17].

It looks like a mahoraga holding a lute is a rare iconographic image. In the Heian period sculpture (for instance in theKōryū-ji temple in Kyoto, statues by Chōsei, 11th century) mahoraga is one of the 12 Heavenly Ministers or Generals (jūni shinshō or jūni yakusha taishō in Japanese) who are protectors of Buddha Yakushi Nyōrai (Bhaiṣajyaguru; the Buddha of Medicine, Souls Healer), but he is depicted with a sword, not a lute. Also, in Butsuzō zui, one of the earliest major Japanese collections of research papers onBuddhist iconography first published in 1690, during the Genroku period (extended version was published in 1783), a mahoraga is depicted without a lute[18].

The lute held by the Lord of mahoragas in Sanjūsangen-dō is worth noticing too. At a glance, that is Japanese biwa - a four-string lute with a short neck and a bent head with hitch-pins, requiring a plectrum[19]. However, its specific carved body (with dimples) resembling a flower or a cloud in shape distinguishes it from a biwa. Biwa lutes with such body shape have neither been found, nor described in Japan. The prototype of that biwa lute may be the four-string lute with a long neck held by a heavenly orchestra musician in a fresco on the Northern wall of the Dunhuang grotto temple (# 220) (Eastern Turkistan, China).

FIG. 5.

Chinese researchers use the term ruan, though ruan is a Chinese lute with a long neck and a circular body, related to the Taoist image of Ruan Xian - one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove; it was widely used during the Tang period and was imported to Japan where it was named genkan (a sample is stored in the custody of the Imperial Treasury Shōsōin), but it went out of use quite fast.

It appears that the author of the statue had seen neither that lute (genkan), nor the Dunhuang lute, but may have seen the latter in pictures (or heard verbal descriptions). That is probably why he gave the lute the shape of an instrument he knew well - the Japanese biwa (lute with a short neck), but slightly altered the body and made it look like the Dunhuang lute.

FIG. 6.

The Lord of kinnaras (Kinnara-ō), the leader of heavenly musicians and dancers, is depicted in the shape of a drum player, and his hourglass-shaped drum looks quite realistic[20]. Judging by the size, that is either a shi-no tsuzumi, or san-no tsuzumi. That instrument originated in Eastern Turkestan; it was imported into Japan in the Nara period in a variety of register types andwas a part of the court tōgaku (Tang music) orchestra. It was preserved in the court orchestra during the Heian period and survived the time (just one type - san-no tsuzumi). The prototype of that drum is ancient Indian damaru, which had a clear Buddhist symbolism: the two halves of the damaru body were symbols of duality of the Saṃsāra, as well as its inconsistency, whereas simultaneous bangs on both membranes of the drum were symbols of unity in non-duality. As far as the Sanjūsangen-dō tradition is concerned, the Lord of kinnaras is considered an aide to Taishakuten (Indra) subordinate to one of the four Heavenly Kings (shitennō in Japanese), whose name is Tamonten or Bishamonten (Vaishravana in Sanskrit, the Keeper of the North). Both in Hinduism and in Early Buddhism, Indra's skies were believed to be the place of dwelling of heavenly musicians - gandharvas and kinnaras (but kinnaras were subordinate to goddess Sarasvati).

As far as the image of the Lord of kinnaras is concerned, it is obvious that the functions of a kinnara and those of a gandharva are mixed up, as well as the functions of the two Heavenly Kings. In the ancient Indian tradition, a gandharva was Indra's heavenly musician, whereas in the continental Vajrayana Buddhism gandharva musicians are subordinate to Dhritarashtra (the Heavenly King of the East). It appears that in Japan they preserved an older canon (possibly related to Hinayana), since the Jikokuten (Dhritarashtra), the Heavenly King of the East, is never depicted with a lute. Besides, his symbolic color is either green of light blue (the color of Indra?), whereas in the continental tradition it is white. Gandharvas subordinate to him are never depicted with musical instruments; moreover, their images are extremely rare in Japan. There are images of Indra himself with a lute (and green-colored skin) in late Hinayana iconography. Possibly, in the Sanjūsangen-dō iconography they "passed" the lute on to Indra's aide, mahoraga[21].


The Lord of garudas (Karura-ō in Japanese) is a Hindu character (not mentioned in the Vedas) incorporated in Buddhism. In the Hindu tradition, garuda is referred to as the enemy of snakes, with the exception of Buddhist protector dragons. As a rule, in the Buddhist iconography he is personified as a bird with big wings, "but sometimes garudas can assume human-like shapes"[22], which is what happened in the iconography of Champa, an ancient state in South-Eastern Asia (current Vietnam), known in ancient Japan as Rin'yu (comes from the Chinese name of the Champa state - Linyi). The Japanese iconography also abides by that legend, because in Japan, a garuda is a half-man-half-bird being (with the torso of a man and wings and head of an eagle). In Sanjūsangen-dō, he is depicted with a big Japanese side-blown flute yokobue, whose other name is ryūteki ("dragon flute"); it is believed that the sound of the flute symbolizes a dragon soaring between the earthly world and the heavenly one. That is the place where garudas dwell. There is a legend that Buddha Shakyamuni had been the Lord of garudas in one of his previous incarnations[23]. Sculptural images of garudas are extremely rare in Japan, but their masks are well known. They date back to the early 6th century, and in the ancient times they were used in Buddhist (originally Indian) shows Gigaku[24] (which came to Japan from Southern China via the Korean kingdom Baekje), and later on they were used in the Noh theater (the Japanese garuda mask resembles a sculptural image of his head in the art of Champa). It is known that Gigaku shows were performed in all major monasteries, including Kōfukuji; some Gigaku characters (including garuda) appear among the statues of Sanjūsangen-dō.

It seems that these days' images of a garuda holding a flute can only be seen in Japan, but that tradition has Chinese roots as well. For the first time, a side-blown flute appeared in the hands of a garuda depicted as half-man-half-bird being in the Taizōkai mandala (Garbhadhatu mandala in Sanskrit), as well as its abridged version - the Genzu mandala[25]. Kūkai, the founder of Shingon sect, brought the Taizōkai mandala to Japan in the beginning of 9th century; the mandala has several versions, and is revered in both the Vajrayana sect Shingon, and in the Tendai sect. The mandala is a picture of gods and deities mentioned in the Dainichikyō Sutra (Mahavairocana Sutra; a total of 120 deities). A garuda holding a flute is depicted in the section of the mandala called gekongōbu-in, among other 28 guardian deities[26]. It is worth recalling that it is usually Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva Onjō (Onjō-bosatsu) - "Divine [music] Sound Bodhisattva" (one of the early images of whom is on an octagonal bronze lantern dating back to the 8th century in the Tōdaiji temple in Nara), which means that the status of that musical instrument in Buddhism is very high. Overall, in the Buddhist iconography, a flute is an instrument symbolizing heavenly joyfulness.

Jimmonten (Jinmonten - statue height - 169.4 cm) is the goddess Mother of gods (Hariti (?) in Sanskrit); she is depicted playing dome-shaped cymbals (dōbyoshi or chappa in Japanese), which she strikes in a horizontal motion. Information on that goddess is extremely scarce; she is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra as one of the 28 guardian deities. Kannon is quite often personified as her, being a protectress and patroness of mothers. In later continental Vajrayana Buddhism, cymbals became attributes of goddess Shabda (the name comes from a Sanskrit word shabda meaning "a sound") - a goddess personifying the Sound (large and small cymbals are among offerings placed on an altar).

Some of the instruments described above (side-blown flute, hourglass-shaped drum, cymbals) were parts of the Gigaku ensemble, as well as the Tendai liturgical ensemble (some Tendai temples still abide by the ancient tradition of using a band of blind monks (mōsō) during their ceremonies, composed as follows: mōsōbiwa lute[27], side-blown flutes, a drum and a horaigai shell horn).

It appears, that the inclusion of statues of Raijin and Fūjin into the sculptural composition of Sanjūsangen-dō considerably changed the "visual/musical" concept of the inner temple space, because the eight drums (of folklore origin) held by Raijin, the deity of thunder, completely fall out of the context of an Indian musical "ensemble".


Raijin (rai - "thunder" and shin/kami - "god") is the deity of thunder; his other name is Raiden (Raiden-sama - "Thunder and Lightning Lord"). Buddhists refer to Raiden as a defeated demon who became one of adepts and protectors of Buddhism; his skin is painted red. In Sanjūsangen-dō,Raijin has a set of eight drums arranged in a circle. Next to him is the statue of Fūjin, the deity of wind.FIG_8-а.The two are a pair image. Both statues have the status of "National Treasure of Japan".

Both deities have Chinese Taoist prototypes that have withstood many changes in the course of their long lives. The image of Raijin evolved from the image of Lei Gong, "the Lord of Thunder". The image of Fūjin combines ancient Shinto wind deities and Feng Bo, the Chinese god of wind. Within Chinese folk mythology, which was shaped by the end of the1st millennium BC, the two deities - Lei Gong and Feng Bo - were parts of "Heavenly Ministry of Thunder" (Lei Bu in Chinese), together with Lei Zu (Thunder patriarch), Dian Mu (Mother of lightning) and Yu Ming (or Yu Shi; Master of rain). One of important functions discharged by these deities that were very revered by the Chinese, was fight against harmful spirits[28]. Feng Bo is usually depicted with a sack made from tiger hide used as bellows - he pumps strong winds out of it.

According to B.L. Riftin, "Philosopher Wang Chong (1st cent. AD) wrote that painters used to depict thunder as a set of drums, or else a muscle man Lei Gong pulling a set of drums with his left hand and banging them with a beater held in his right hand"[29]. In addition, there is a mid-2nd century relief (in the Yu Liang temple in the province of Shandong) depicting Lei Gong as a man on a chariot in clouds banging two drums with a hammer. Later on, the image of Lei Gong went through transformations. During the Tang period, he was described as "winged black pig-like creature with horns and two talons on front and back paws, holding a stone axe in his front paws and eating a red snake" (Ibid.). Then, in all likelihood, the image was contaminated with the image of a garuda: in later prints, Lei Gong is depicted as a bird-headed beast with webbed wings and bird-like legs/paws flying atop a cloud; in his right hand he holds a hammer/beater which he uses to consequently bang barrel-shaped drums around him tied together with a rope (usually there are nine of them).

FIG. 9.

As esoteric Buddhism spread, the above Taoist deities could have assumed certain features of Hindu gods that had been incorporated in the Buddhist pantheon, or else given their features to Buddhist (Shinto-Buddhist in Japan) characters, in accordance with the honji-suijaku theory of esoteric Buddhism of the Heian period. For instance, an image of Fūten,[30]the Buddhist god of wind, can be seen in the above-mentioned Taizōkai mandala[31].

In the "Hinduist" context of Buddhist guardians of Sanjūsangen-dō, Raijin stands for Varuna, Hindu god of the skies and rain; he may also be related to Rudra (the name "Rudra" may literally mean "red", "savage", "roaring"), the Veda god of storms, gales and wind personifying anger and rage, as well as destructive forces of nature. Fūjin (and Fūten) stand for Vay, the Veda god of wind and air (cf. ancient Greek god Aeolus), who, in turn, is related to Vat, a Vedic (non-anthropomorphic) personification of wind.

Obviously,the most ancient human-like Chinese image of the thunder god is preserved in the Sanjūsangen-dō iconography. As far as the drums are concerned, those instruments are relatedto both Taoist and Buddhist and Shinto cults.

First images of the two above-mentioned deities were introduced in Japan in the 8th century. During the Heian period, as well as later on, during the Kamakura period, their images were widely spread. It is not inconceivable that the "rise" of the two gods may be related to unsuccessful attempts of the Great Mongol Empire to attack Japan (in 1274 and then in1281). According to a folk legend, Raijin threw fiery arrows at the fleet of Kublai Khan. Both gods effectively assumed the status of state protectors.

At a glance, the set of Raijin's drums can be interpreted as a great invention of a sculptor, who depicted peals of thunder in that way. It should be remembered that association of thunder with the voice of drums is typical of none other but Chinese and Indian cultures[32]. Mongolians, for instance, interpret thunder as the grinding of teeth of a dragon, who is the deity governing waters; to Slavs, thunder is the rattling of a chariot carrying a deity (probably, the legacy of mythology of an ancient Indo-Iranian era).

In all likelihood, the drums whirl around Raijin at a high speed, whereas the beaters he holds in his hands slip on their membranes[33] making a peculiar "thunder-like" glissando. The Japanese researches use a generic term "taiko" to define Raijin's drums; in the contemporary set of traditional Japanese musical instruments, drums called hiradodaikoor hiradaiko have a similar shape. However, unlike all other instruments held by the Sanjūsangen-dō statues, which are related to court musical instruments of the Nara and Heian periods, Raijin's drums are related to the folklore musical tradition. The shape of his drums, which are almost flat, resembles the ancient Chinese biangu - the so-called flat "dragon drums" (known since the period of the Chu state, 5th - 3rd centuries BC[34]), orson buk which were in use in ancient Korean state Goguryeo and are known from tomb paintings (similar drums are still in use in Nepal).

As discussed, the Chinese deity Lei Gong (Duke - Lord of Thunder) is also depicted with a set of drums (usually there are nine of them) connected with a rope in later prints, but in later prints the drums are completely different - they are barrel-shaped (like Chinese quing gu drums).

Circle-like arrangement of Raijin's drums reminds of sets of percussion instruments - drums and tam-tams - well known in the cultures of continental South-Eastern Asia, where those are unique markers of local music; they are still in use in the music of Myanmar (where they have been known at least since the 10th century AD) and Thailand. The age of such circle-shaped sets of drums becomes clear from works of literature and graphic arts. One of the earliest references to a round kong wong tam-tam in Cambodia dates back to the 8th century[35]; an 11th century picture of such tam-tams held, among other instruments, by musicians preceding a religious procession of Brahmans can be seen among reliefs of the Southern gallery in Angkor Wat.


The music of ancient South-Eastern Asia kingdoms was known in Japan during the periods of Nara and Heian. That was togaraku, which some researches define as Hindu-Buddhist music of the ancient state of Dvaravati that used to exist within the contemporary Thai boundaries[36] and was introduced to Japan via Korea, as well as rin'yugaku - "music of Rin'yu", i.e. the ancient state of Champa (Linyi in Chinese, Rin'yu in Japanese) that used to exist in the Southern part of contemporary Vietnam[37]. Possibly, the constructive idea (circle-like arrangement of percussion instruments) was preserved in memory of Japanese artists through history.There is another great example of indirect influence of the South-Eastern Asia arts, which manifested itself after many centuries in the statues of Sanjūsangen-dō. That example is fresco from the Dunhuanggrotto temple #9 dating back to 890-893 AD, which depicts a drummer from the Pagan kingdom (modern Myanmar).

FIG. 11

The postures, reddish skin color, facial expression (ecstatic grin, bulging wide eyes), as well as hair dancing in the hurricane wind in the Dunhuang fresco of the Pagan drummer are almost identical to those of Raijin (the analogy becomes evident when the two images are collated). According to Chinese researchers, the fresco is an illustration of the Sutra of Wisdom and Foolery (Zanlundo)[38]: the battle of Śāriputra (one of two chief male disciples of the Buddha)[39]and Rudra. Rudra turned himself into a tree [rudraksha], and Śāriputra turned into hurricane wind, which blew at Rudra's drum with such power, that six Pagan drummers failed to bang it[40]. In this case, there are even more reasons to assume that the sculptor who created the statue of Raijin had known of the Dunhuang fresco, had probably seen a sketch, and was, to a certain extent aware of the overall plot of the picture: a struggling drummer trying to bang his drum in a hurricane wind.

The Author hereof believes, that the statues of Taishakuten and Daibonten in the Sanjūsangen-dō temple should hold a rei bell and a tridacna[41] shell respectively; they were probably lost in time. This is the reason to believe it is the comparison of guardian deities in Sanjūsangen-dō and the kakejiku icon from the Kiyomizudera temple.


This picture reflects a spiritual connection between the two temples mentioned above and helps recreate certain details that are either non-observable in the Sanjūsangen-dō statues, or have been lost.

The Kiyomizudera temple founded in the 8th century is also dedicated to the Thousand-armed and Eleven-faced Kannon; it is subordinate to the Kōfukuji temple located in the city of Nara - a family temple of the Fujiwara clan, in opposition to which Taira-no Kiyomori built Sanjūsangen-dō. The kakejiku, which, in a way, is a response to the Sanjūsangen-dō iconography, and possibly reflects the images of statues of deities that used to be in the Kōfukuji temple, depicts the main worship object - Kannon personified as Buddha (in this case the image is a male one) surrounded by almost all divine guardian characters from Sanjūsangen-dō, including the "musicians" described above (though the Lord of mahoragas holds a classical Japanese lute biwa with a pear-shaped body), as well as Raijin with his drums and Fūjin with his wind sack; Daibonten holds a pot with a remedy in the left hand (similar to Sanjūsangen-dō ) and a bell (!) in the right hand; Taishakuten holds a tridacna shell in the right hand (a mirror in Sanjūsangen-dō ) and a stick in the left hand[42].

The god of thunder with his drums sort of "falls out" of both the musical context and sculptural ensemble of the Kiyomizu temple, and the Kiyomizudera temple kakejiku. The thing is that the thunder-like sound of Raijin's drums will completely muffle the "divine" music of the flute held by the Lord of garudas, the lute held by the Lord of mahoragas, the drum held by the Lord of kinnaras, as well as little cymbals held by goddess Jimmonten (though the "musicians" spread around the temple space do not look like they are supposed to play as an ensemble, i.e. simultaneously and in the same time dimension). So, there must be a special spiritual justification for that, since the topics of Buddhist musical iconography are always based upon Buddhist texts (let us recall, for instance, the pictures of musical instruments sounding on their own and suspended in the air of Heavenly Palaces in the Amidism mandalas, reflecting the descriptions of the Palaces in sutras, etc.). The justification can be found in the Buddhist and Hindu meditation practices recorded in the Hindu texts. It is common knowledge that Buddhism not just incorporated Hindu gods in its pantheon, but borrowed quite a few ideas from the Brahmanism Upanishads. As far as the Author is concerned, the musical iconography of Sanjūsangen-dō is a great illustration of succession of the sound interpretation tradition between the revelations recorded in the Upanishads and Buddhism (both in Hindu and in Buddhism, hearing is referred to as the most intimate sense). The entire set of the Sanjūsangen-dō statues' instruments, as well as the set depicted in the Kiyomizudera kakejiku may be related to a secret spiritual practice of concentration upon sounds reproduced by the inner hearing, commonly called Nāda yoga (yoga of sound) and be an illustration of the Buddhist/Hindu meditative comprehension of the "Pro-sound" (shabda in Sanskrit) through consecutive mastering of acoustic vibrations/timbres (nāda is Sanskrit); a meditating practitioner is supposed to use his/her inner hearing to consecutively (and in a certain order) hear mystical musical sounds (which have nothing to do with physical vibrations) born out of silence. There may be five, seven or nine of them. It should be noted that the number nine plays an important role in Buddhism. For instance, according to a Mahayana text titled Dashabhumishvara (400th year AD), there are nine steps one has to clear in order the attain Buddhahood[43]. Minor Upanishads (e.g. Hamsa Upanishad) describe the sequence as follows: "... and there shall be a Sound of nine kinds: first - ding, second - ding-dong [onomatopoeia], third - sound of a bell, forth -sound of a shell, fifth -sound of a string instrument [a lute], sixth -sound of a clap [of cymbals], seventh -sound of a flute, eights -sound of [a small] drum, ninth - a [loud] sound of a large battle drum, and tenth -sound of thunder. [The passage is followed by a description of the feelings a practitioner trying to reproduce the sounds with his/her inner hearing should have]<...>On the tenth [sound], there will be the Supreme Blessing, and Ātman will become one with Brahman"[44]. It is believed that Buddhist yoga practices most often use the sequence of seven sounds: "an apprentice is supposed to hear the voice of their inner God expressed through seven manifestations resembling the voice of a nightingale, sound of silver cymbals, sound of a shell, sound of a veena, a bamboo flute and the sound of thunder; the last one absorbs its predecessors and they cease to sound. In symbolic terms, the sequence reflects the most mystical sound born out of silence, becoming louder and louder and reaching culmination as the apprentice becomes one with the Only One"[45]. It is likely that the musical iconography of Sanjūsangen-dō used to reflect a more complete (and more ancient?) nine-step sequence.

One could imagine that onomatopoeia (ding, ding-dong) expresses spontaneous sounds of wind-blown bells in the baldachin above the main statue of Kannon, or else metallic rings of the shakujō staffs, which every one of the thousand statues of the Bodhisattva holds in one of its right hands, or, maybe, a rei bell, which each statue also holds. It looks like Kannon (Bodhisattva Apperceiving the Sounds of the World) herself gives the initial sound impulse that is born out of silence in the mind of a meditating adept. The notion of "sound of a shell" should be interpreted with caution - it means the noise in a shell, rather that the voice that can be heard when the shell is blown. That is why Taishakuten (Indra) in the Kiyomizu temple kakejiku does not hold a horagai[46]shell horn, which would make sense both in the Buddhist context in its entirety, and the musical context of the kakejiku[47], but a tridacna shell, which is not a musical instrument, but just a shell which only makes noise when resonating with outer sounds[48]. The entire sequence of vibrations - the sound of a wind-blown bell, rattling of rings on Kannon's staff, noise of the shell, (which, we believe, the Taishakuten statue lost), the sound of lute strings, the sound of cymbal claps[49], the whistle-like sound of flute, the sound of tsuzumi drum with a pre-defined pitch and, finally, a loud sound of Raijin drums whose pitch is enigmatic, evolving to the sounds of thunder, is something an adept practicing Buddhist Nāda yoga (yoga of sound) can hear with his/her inner ear, when walking around the Sanjūsangen-dō hall (statues holding musical instruments are on both sides of the hall).

Did the esoteric practice of gradual entering the stream of universal vibrations actually exist in Japan? Alternatively, did it exist but was lost in time, because of its extreme complexity? On the other hand, was it preserved in the format of a secret exercise (mikkyō traditions) that is not described in any texts? It is hard to say. Nevertheless, the musical reality of Sanjūsangen-dō does indeed open real ways for such practice.

The figure of God of wind incorporated in the Hindu context shows a mystical connection with the lute held by the Lord of mahoragas, called veena in Sanskrit. In the Hindu art, among other characters, Sage Narada who, according to the Puranas (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam,etc.), has the ability to visit distant worlds and realms travelling the "thin body of light"[50] is also depicted with a veena. That ability he got through control over the element of wind, and the energy of wind is generated by the sound (nāda in Sanskrit) of his veena.

The images of Raijin with his set of drums and Fūjin with his "wind" sack became iconic during the Kamakura period. They duplicate and, every now and then, replace the images of Niō (the two Benevolent Kings), protectors of the Buddhist teaching, whose statues used to be put up by the gates of Buddhist temples. The sculptural images of Raijin and Fūjin are put up by the gate of Sensōji, an ancient Tendai temple in Tokyo also dedicated to Kannon. The statues became targets of folk worship. The gate is called Kaminarimon or "the Gate of Thunder", whereas the official name is Fūraijimmon[51].The legend stating that Raijin and Fūjin saved Japan during the attempted Mongolian invasion was reflected in Kumo-no Taema Amayo-no Tsuki (the Moon Shining Through a Cloud-Rift on a Rainy Night) composed by Takizawa Bakin (1767-1848)[52]. Raijin (Raiden) became a frequent netsuke character: they carve him either with a single large drum, or sitting on a drum[53].

An early 17th century screen with a picture of the two deities from the Kenninji temple in Kyoto made be the painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu (1600-1643), as well as a painting by his follower, Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716) are famous too.

It may be no accident that the assumed intra-temple yoga practice was supplemented (or replaced) with another extra-temple Buddhist discipline during the Edo period - enlightenment through a martial art ofarchery (kyūdō), which was exercised in the format of contests of archer samurai (tōshiya) at temple's terrace, along its outer wall (refer to fig.1)[54]. Let it be noted, that there is a statue of Hindu deity Marisiten who is the protector of warriors, predominantly archers, among the 28 guarding deities of the Thousand-Armed Kannon.

[1]It is common knowledge that in India the Buddhist tradition practically ceased to exist by the 13th century. InChinaandKorea,theevolutionof Buddhist iconography was interrupted due to periods of persecution against Buddhism. InChina, theancienttraditionalschoolsasgoodasdied away, with the exception of Amidism and the Chang school that are interacting, whereas the monuments of Buddhist art sustained a serious damage overall, during the years of Cultural revolution.

[2]Concerning the temple, see also: E. Kruchina. A Hundred Faces of the Ancient Capital: Sanjūsangen-dō // WINDOW TO JAPAN. E-mail bulletin of the Russia-Japan Society,

[3]Astonemonument(stele) to Go-Shirakawa waserectedinthe temple yard by the 13th anniversary of his death.

[4]Accordingtoan Amidistic Buddhism legend, Avalokiteshvara, who had reached enlightenment, declined to attain Buddhahood because of compassion toward all living things. Those who appealed to him in a moment of grief and suffering were so numerous, and he tried to listen to everyone so hard, that his head split into eleven parts. AndBuddha Amitābha gavehimelevenheads. Then, having heard the cries and prayers, Avalokiteshvara tried to help everyone who prayed to him, but his arms broke into a thousand pieces. AndBuddhaAmitābhagavehimthousandarms. In China Avalokiteshvara got a female image. The Bodhisattva has a special Pure land in the South, where the righteous dwell, called Potala (Fudaraku in Japanese).

[5]According to the Lotus Sutra, . " If living beings [in this land] must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest in the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them." (translated from Chinese into Russian by A.N. Ignatovich, page 132 -

[6]The yosegi technique, which makes the work of a sculptor a lot easier and faster, had been in use since latter half of the 10th century. It evolved to its classical format in the works of Unkei (1148-1223).

[7]Similar 1,000-fold, orelse 108-foldimagesofgoddessTarah (theSavior) replicating the central imagehave been known to exist in the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.

[8]Shakujō (XizhanginChinese) is a staff (orabaton) withanornatelyshapedmetallicfinialwithjinglingmetallicringsonboth sides. The instrument originated in ancient India; in Sanskrit, it is called khakkhara. AclassicalIndianstaffwouldhave 12 rings (6+6) symbolizingthe 12 reasons (of endless chain of reincarnations) and their consequences, staffs used by beginner monks would have 4 rings. SuchstaffswerebroughttoJapanviaChinaaround 7thcentury; in Japan they usually have 6 rings (3+3) symbolizing 6 states of being (staffs held by painted Bodhisattvas always have 6 rings).

[9]Thebellandvajrasymbolize the unity of salvation method (upaya in Sanskrit; symbolized by vajra) and wisdom (prajñā in Sanskrit, symbolized by the bell) and reflect the non-dual nature of True Being. ThebellSanjūKannonholdsinoneofherhands is not a true signal tool, but a symbolic ceremonial object.

[10]Referto: N.N. Trubnikova. ReveredBeings of the Kiyomizu Temple // Culture and Form - Commemorating 60th Birthday of A.L. Dobrokhotov. Moscow,2013.Pages 322-339; see also:

[11]The Author would like to express sincere gratitude to Ms. Kaori Yunoki-Oie, a music scholar form Japan, who, at the request of the Author, clarified and confirmed a number of graphic details of the Sanjūsangen-dō statues (in particular, in the book Kamakura-no chokoku kenchiku: Unkei to Kaikei / Complied by Susumu Miyama. Volume 12. Tokyo, Gakushukenkyusha, 1978), andkindlyclarifiedthehistoryoftheabove-mentionedkakejiku "icon" fromtheKiyomizutemple (the kakejiku was made by a contemporary artist on the occasion of demonstration of the main worship object - the statue of Kannon - in 2000. Thestatueisonlydemonstratedtothecongregation once every 33 years, for the rest of the time it is concealed).

[12]AccordingtotheancientMahayanisticKaranda-vyuhaSutra dedicated to Avalokiteshvara, he personified himself either as Buddha, or as one of the Hindu gods - Brahmā, IndraorShiva.

[13]Thegroupincludes: heavenlybeings (dewainSanskrit; tenortenbuinJapanese), dragonsornagi (nagainSanskrit, ryuinJapanese), spiritsofnatureoryakshi (Sanskrit; yashaorrasetsuinJapanese), deitiesofmusicandmedicineorgandharva (kendatsubaorkendabbainJapanese), semi-deitiesorasura (ashurainJapanese), enemiesofnagianddragonsorgaruda (karurain Japanese, comes from the Pāli word garula), heavenly musicians and dancers kinnara (kimnara in Sanskrit) and snake-like musician beings (?) or mahoraga (magoraka in Japanese). Thereareslightdifferencesinthenames of the above beings between different temples. Theirstatusesdifferaswell.Tenbu / tembu are deities subordinate to Bodhisattvas. They include the four Heavenly Kings (shitennō in Japanese): Bonten, Taishakuten (Indra) and Benzaiten (Sarasvati?). Otherbeings, as a rule, are subordinate to tenbu deities: yakshi are subordinate to Tanmonten (they also serve Buddha Yakushi-Nyōrai), gandharva - musitians of Taishakuten's heavenly palace - are subordinate to Heavenly King Jikokuten (Dhritarashtra), asura are subordinate to Taishakuten, kinnara serve Tamonten (Bishamonten), but in the Sanjūsangen-dō tradition, Kinnara-ō is referred to as an aide to Taishakuten (see also: JapaneseBuddhistStatuary. -

[14]Fordetails, referto: M.V. Esipova. BuddhistMusicalIconography.IntroductiontoAgenda. // Academic Periodical of the Moscow Conservatory of Music. 2013. # 4. Pages 78-79.

[15]GathadedicatedtoKannonhasthefollowingwords: "[He is] undefiled pure light, / [He is]
the sun of wisdom that breaks through the darkness. / [That] is able to quell / calamities of wind and fire / As it shines on all worlds. / [His] compassionate substance / is the thunder of precepts. / [His] kind intent: a wondrous great cloud. / He rains down / sweet dew and Dharma rain, / which extinguish the flames of affliction. / In the midst of contention, when faced with lawsuits, / or when [someone] is terrified on the battlefield, / If he evokes the strength of Guanyin / All his many enemies will scatter / and leave." / (Quoted from: Wonderful Dharma Lotus Sutra, chapter 25. Translated from Chinese into Russian and interpreted by A.N. Ignatovich, page 133).

[16]Fordetails, referto: M.V. Esipova. BuddhistMusicalIconography.IntroductiontoAgenda.Page 75.

[17]Itislikely, thattheimageswere "contaminated" when Indra - aHinduLokapāla (Guardian) oftheEast-was incorporated intheTibetanandChineseBuddhism, where later on Dhritarashtra (who is always depicted in a dancing pose and with a lute) became LokapālaoftheEast.

[18]See also:

[19]The Japanese believe that the name of biwa (pipa in Chinese) comes from a Sanskrit word veena (though there are various theories in respect of the origin of the Chinese term pipa, which contradict one another). Fordetailsconcerningthepolysemyoftheword veena (a harp, a lute, a cither), as well as its transition from a lute-like instrument to a cither-like one and then back, refer to: M.V. Esipova. BuddhistMusicalIconography.IntroductiontoAgenda.Pages 68-76.

[20]The Lord of kinnaras was depicted with a veena in Hindu iconography.

[21]As far as gandharva is concerned, his Japanese name - kendatsuba or kendabba - does not come from a Sanskrit word, but from a Pāḷi one - gandhabba; it is to be recalled that Pāḷi is the language of Hinayana.

[22]Quotedfrom: Garuda // Mythology Dictionary. Moscow, Soviet Encyclopedia Publishing House, 1990. Pages 141-142.

[23]The Lord of nagi, according to a different version.

[24]GigakuoriginatesfromancientIndianmusical/dramashows performed as part of the puja ritual ("offerings" to Buddha). In Japan, ensembles including kuretsuzumi (slim-cut drums), flutes and little cymbals accompanied Gigaku shows. The tradition died away after 15th century.

[25]Refer to: Thakur, Upendra. India and Japan, a Study in Interaction during 5th Cent.-14th Cent. A.D. New Delhi: Abhinav Publication, 1992. Page 40. U. Thakur also mentions Sanzu-mandala, and points out that a garuda may have four or eight arms.

[26]Refer to: Grotenhuis E. ten. Japanese Mandala: Representations of Sacred Geography. Honolulu: Univ. ofHawaiiPress, 1998. Page 94. That mandala has a picture of a garuda with a horn shell.

[27]Mōsōbiwais another type of biwa lute, which was widely used in 7th - 12th century. Atraditiontorecitesutrastomōsōbiwaaccompaniment came to Japan from China (possibly, via India).

[28] Refer to:

[29]Referto: B.L. Riftin.Lei Gong // Mythology dictionary, page 323.

[30]InesotericBuddhism, Fūten is one of the 12 deities (Jūniten), as well as one of the eight direction guardians (happōten).

[31]Grotenhuis E. ten. Japanese Mandala: Representations of Sacred Geography. Page 94.

[32]ThereisanancientlegendinChinaaboutemperorHuangdiwhoprevailedoverChi You who could fly. Huangdimadeamagicdrumand used the bones of thunder spirit as beaters. ChiYouwentdeafbecauseofthunder-like bangs, and was taken captive. (refer to: Wang Zichu. Chinese Musical Instruments / Translated from Chinese into Russian by N.V. Vasiliev. [Beijing]: The Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China, sans anno. Page 12).

The image of thunder resembling sound of drums is preserved in the Indian poetry bhakti, e.g. in the works of Swami Haridas: "Radha, dear, let us go where cuckoos sing, / where birds sing their songs! / Where a peacock dances with its tail open like a fan, / and clouds bang a drum, and thunder sings! <...>» (quotedfrom: N.M. Sazanova.16th century Rasika Poetry in Braj Bhasa // Oriental Philology Issues. Moscow. PublishingHouseoftheUniversityofMoscow, 1979. Page 119.

[33]TheAuthorhasseendescriptionsofthedrumsas "awheel", as "abowwithdrums" andas "ahoopwithdrumsattachedtoit", which Raijinspins. Therearereasonstothinkthata "bow" isa conditional element of sculpture, and can be disregarded (because there is no other way to depict drums whirling in space): such bows are used to make halos over the heads of Bodhisattva heads, etc.

[34]Refer to: The Musical Arts of Ancient China / Eds. Xiao Mei, Bell Yung, Anita Wong. University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong, 2001. P. 62.

[35]Referto: KhangRitkhiravut. KongWongMusical Instruments.Encyclopedia. Moscow. Deka-VS, 2008 Page. 295.

[36]In 731, there were 62 performers of togaraku in the Court Musical Chamber (Gagakuryō), and only two in 809. For details, refer to: Waterhouse D. Where did Toragaku come from ?// Musica Asiatica. Vol. VI. CambridgeUniv. press, 1991.

[37]It is believed, that the eight musical pieces of rin'yugaku (the so-called "rin'yu-hachi-gaku") were mastered under the supervision of Brahman Bodhisena, an Indian monk who arrived in Japan in 736; for the first time ever they were presented in Narain 763.

[38]The sutra exists in Chinese and Tibetan. It is likely that the Chinese researchers focused upon the Chinese version (Siang-yui quing), since the Author failed to discover any such passage in the Russian translation of the Sutra from Tibetan [The Sutra of Wisdom and Follery (Zanlundo), translated from Tibetan into Russian and interpreted by Y.M. Parfinivich; 2nd edition. Moscow. OrientalLiteraturePublishingHouse, 2002. Page 320. [MonumentsofOrientalScripts].

[39]ChineseresearchesassumethetraditionalMyanmar (Burma) chronology, according to which the Kingdom of Pagan was founded in 849 (someresearchersbelievethattheKingdom was founded in 911). Referto: E.O. Berzin. Southeastern AsiafromtheAncientTimesthrough 13th Century. Moscow, Oriental Literature Publishing House, the Russian Academy of Sciences. Page 224).

[40]Refer to: TreasuresofDunhuangGrottoes. N. l.: Polyspring Co., Ltd., 2002. Pages 154-155.

[41]The shell is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra as a decoration.

[42]For details, refer to: N.N. Trubnikova. Revered Beings of the Kiyomizu Temple // Culture and Form - Commemorating 60th Birthday of A.L. Dobrokhotov. Moscow, 2013.Pages 322-339.

[43]Referto: S. Radkhakrishnan. Indian Philosophy. VolumeI. Irpen: LLC Radogost, 2005. Page 443.

[44]Quoted from: Hamsa -upanishad of Śukla-Yajurveda» (page 212) in:Thirty Minor Upanishads, tr. by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar. 1914, refer to.:, and;;

[45]Quotedfrom: Nāda// Buddhism and Adjacent Religions - Terms Dictionaryfor Non-Specialist Readers / Compiled by L.Y. Golub, O.Y. Drugova and P.Y. Golub //'GolubDrugovaGolub.

[46]Horagaiisan alert musical instrument, a shell horn; originates from a shangkh mentioned in the Indian Vedas; a "Dharma instrument" typical of Buddhism; used to be made from charoniatritonis shells.

[47]Shell horns used to be parts of Buddhist musical instruments ensembles.

[48]In respect of tridacna, a reference is made to the aforementioned paper: N.N. Trubnikova. Revered Beings of the Kiyomizu Temple // Culture and Form - Commemorating 60th Birthday of A.L. Dobrokhotov. Moscow, 2013.Pages 322-339. However, aKiyomizuderatempleostiaryK. YunokispoketoattheAuthor'srequestdoesnotbelieveTaishakutenholdsashell; he, however, couldnotanswerwhatexactlythedeityshould hold.

[49]Based on the above context, it makes sense that in the continental Vajrayana Buddhism the cymbals become an attribute of Shabda, goddess-personifying Sound.

[50]Quotedfrom: Sadguru Swami Vishnudevananda Giri (Swami Vishnu Dev). The Sound Universe. -

[51] Burned down during World War II; currently restored.

[52]Referto: H. Davis.Japanese Myths and Legends. Moscow, 2008;

[53]TheimageofRaijinwithhisdrumsprovedverylong lasting andwasinuse up until the 20th century (it was even used in caricatures during the Russo-Japanese war).

[54]Competitionsstartedat 6 p.m. and lasted 24 hours. The competition record book says that one young samurai, Wasa Daihachiro shot 13,053 arrows within a day, of which 8,133 hit the target. These days it is a contest young ladies enter into to celebrate their coming-of-age. Every year on January 15, young ladies wearing kimonos and hakama pants shoot arrows trying to hit a target 60m away.

Let us add, that in Japan Sanjūsangen-dō is famous for another ritual - Yanagi-no Okaji (the Willow Incantations), which has been conducted since the 12th century: a priest touches the heads of adepts with a branch of the Sacred Willow.