Culture Note: Nio Protectors

The nio are two muscle-bound protectors who are at the entrance of most Buddhist shrines. One guardian is placed on each side of the gate. They are easy to recognize since they are usually scowling and threatening. The purpose of this is not to scare off visitors, but evil spirits, devils, and thieves. According to legend, the nio were the Buddha’s personal protectors when he traveled across India. The open-mouthed nio is called Agyo, which means “birth,” and the closed-mouth nio is called Ungyo, which means “death.”

One of the Nio Guardian Kings

One of the Nio Guardian Kings

Another Nio Guardian

Another Nio Guardian

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s