Magnificent Painted Figure of Idaten
Magnificent Painted Figure of Idaten. Rare and large wooden standing Idaten (Sanskrit: Skanda) with folded hands in front of him with traces of gilding and polychrome, clad in an ornate suit-of-armour with tiger skin at the back and shishi-lions at the shoulders.
Idaten stands on a base with a carved frieze with gilded cloud motives.
The diety (deva) Idaten is one of the group of eight generals of Zōjōten (Sanskrit: Virudhaka) of the four Guardians of the Directions, North, South, East, and West.
Idaten is regarded as a devoted guardian of Buddhistic monasteries who protects the teachings of Buddhism.
Total height: 107,3 cm.
Height statue: H. : 87 cm.
Height plinth: H. : 20,3 cm; 35 x 44 cm.
Skanda (Chinese:塞建陀, 室建陀), also known as Wei Tuo (Chinese: 韋馱) and Idaten (Japanese: 韋駄天) is a Mahayana bodhisattva regarded as a devoted guardian of Buddhist monasteries who protects the teachings of Buddhism. He is also sometimes called in the Chinese tradition “Hufa Weituo Zuntian Pusa”, meaning “Honored Dharma Protector Skanda Bodhisattva”, because he is one of the twenty-four celestial guardian deities mentioned in the Golden Light Sutra.
In Chinese temples, Skanda faces the statue of the Buddha in the main shrine. In others, he is on the far right of the main shrine, whereas on the left is his counterpart, Sangharama (personified as the historical general Guan Yu). In Chinese sutras, his image is found at the end of the sutra, a reminder of his vow to protect and preserve the teachings.
According to legends, Skanda was the son of a virtuous king who had complete faith in Buddha’s teachings. When the Buddha entered nirvana, the Buddha instructed Skanda to guard the Dharma. It was his duty to protect members of the sangha when they are disturbed by Mara, the tempter, and also to resolve conflicts amongst members of the sangha. A few days after the Buddha’s passing and cremation, evil demons stole his relics. Skanda’s vow of protecting the faith and Dharma was proven when he managed to defeat the evil demons and returned the relics.