Kibori no Kuji (Wood-carved Puppy)

Kibori no KujiWood-carved Puppy

  • Category: Important Cultural Property
  • Periods: Kamakura period
  • Notes: By Tankei

This carving once belonged to Myoe (1173–1232). He loved animals from a young age, and believed his deceased parents would be reborn as animals. He particularly adored puppies and, thanks to his dream journals, we know that he often dreamed about them.


Born in 1173 in present-day Yuasa, Aridagawa Town, Wakayama Prefecture, Myoe rejuvenated the Huayan sect. After becoming a priest under Mongaku at Jingoji Temple. He studied Kegon Buddhism at Todaiji Temple and received the secret teachings from Konen at Kajuji Temple. He was awarded the land of Togano by Retired Emperor Gotoba in 1206 and built Kosanji Temple as the center of the Huayan sect. He died in 1232.

Myoe is said to have always kept this life-sized statue by his side. It is attributed to the famous Japanese sculptor Tankei (1173–1256).


A sculptor (1173-1256) of the Kei school in the Kamakura Era specializing in Buddhist works. The eldest son of famed sculptor Unkei, he is known to have interacted with Myoe Shonin. His representative works include the Seated Senju Kannon (National Treasure), the central image of the Rengeoin (Sanjusangendo).