Guardian figure

Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Wood (Cryptomeria japonica)
H: 226.4 cm (89 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer North Corridor

Figure: guardian

Buddhism, Japan, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333)

ca. 1235-?
Ebaradera 家原寺 (now Ebara-ji 家原寺), Sakai, Osaka prefecture, Japan, commissioned pair of guardian figures [1]

?-around 1932
Unidentified dealer in Nara, Japan acquired from temple [2]

Around 1932-1949
Hugues Le Gallais (1896-1964), purchased from dealer in Nara, Japan [3]

From 1949
The Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hugues Le Gallais [4]

[1] See Akisato Rito, "Izumi meisho zue 和泉名所圖會" [book] Vol. 1 (Takahashi Heisuke, 1796) for an account of the history of the temple and its renovations, especially the one in 1245, when these wooden sculptures were likely commissioned. See also inscription of the temple name on the tenon, which projects downward from the sole of the left foot of F1949.20.

[2] Huges Le Gallais was the Ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States from 1940 through his retirement in 1958. In 1945, he was a member of the Luxembourg delegation to the San Francisco Conference that formed the United Nations. Before a career in foreign service, Le Gallais worked for the Luxembourg Steel Corporation. Between 1918 through 1938, he worked for the company in Paris, London, Saarbrücken, Tokyo, and Bombay. Le Gallais reported that he purchased the pair of sculptures (F1949.20 and F1949.21) from a "well known dealer in Nara" who had acquired them from the temple. See Hughes Le Gallais, "A Pair of Japanese Temple Guardians" in Gazette des Beaux Arts (September / October 1947), 122.

[3] See note 2.

[4] See invoice from Hugues Le Gallais, dated September 19, 1949, copy in object file.

Research completed December 23, 2022.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ebara-ji 家原寺
Hugues Le Gallais 1896-1964

Published References
  • Art Tour. Washington, December 10, 1954. section B, p. 3.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 95, vol. 2: p. 179.
  • Hosomi Ryoichi. Furiya Bijutsu no nio zo ni tsuite [The Nio Sculpture in the Freer Gallery]. no. 258, March 1960. p. 4.
  • John S. Major, Betty Belanus. Caravan to America: Living Arts of the Silk Road., 1st ed. Chicago. p. 20.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 90.
  • Hugues Le Gallais. A Pair of Japanese Temple Guardians. 6th series, vol. 32, September-October 1947. pp. 115-124, fig. 5.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects