NEXT SLIDE: Left personifying Empress Jinguu. Hachiman god ofwar as monk, Empress Nakatsu.These sculptures function as objects of devotion in certainShinto shrines. Originally the Shinto tradition had no customof making anthropomorphic images, but this was to a certainextent begun after the 8th century, in imitation of Buddhismand under the influence of the so-called honji suijaku theory ofShinto-Buddhist syncretism. Written records tell of Shintoimages being carved in the latter half of the 8th century, butthe earliest extant examples date from the 9th century (earlyHeian period). A feature distinguishing them from Buddhistimages is the existence of both male and femaleimages.There is also a notable absence of set iconographicprinciples of the type which governed the production ofBuddhist images. In many cases they are multicolored, andwere made to imitate the clothing and hair styles of specificmen and women of the court aristocracy of the time.
portrait sculpture of the Shinto deityHachiman in the guise of a Buddhist monk(a noted example of shugo bijutsu, a blendof Shinto and Buddhist iconography) atTodaiji Temple in Nara and the portrait ofTamayorihime-no-mikoto found at YoshinoMikumari Shrine in Nara Prefecture.