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Painting of the deity Hakutaku by Fukuhara Gogaku, 1785

Fukuhara Gogaku
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Credit: Painting of the deity Hakutaku by Fukuhara Gogaku, 1785. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Painting of the deity Hakutaku. The Hakutaku image has three faces, each face with three eyes and a pair of horns. This "Hakutaku hi kai zu" is the oldest of five extant Japanese examples of a diagram combining the image of Hakutaku (literal translation, White Marsh) with an inscription that identifies Hakutaku as a deity who protects people from being harmed by spirit-world prodigies. The inscription includes a lengthy quotation from a lost twelfth century Chinese work, Sheshi lu (Record of Experiencing the World), that recommends hanging the picture of Hakutaku/Baize inside the house to prevent misfortune. Magical uses of the image of Hakutaku are well documented in eighteenth and nineteenth century Japan, including as a protective amulet when traveling and for illness. During the 1858 cholera epidemic in Edo (modern Tokyo) people were told to protect themselves by setting the image of Hakutaku on their headrest before retiring at night.



Inscription dated 1785 by the monk Bansen.


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