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Female Shinto Deity

A work made of wood with traces of polychromy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood with traces of polychromy.


12th century



About this artwork

In Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, female deities play an equally important role as their male counterparts. The earliest surviving sculptures of female Shinto deities date to the ninth century, and they often form a set with a depiction of the male deity Hachiman. In contrast to those of their companion, however, the goddesses’ identities are inexact, and such sculptures show a generic woman of the imperial court in secular dress.

Here the deity’s stiff pose and blocklike shape are reminiscent of other sculptures of this type, but her softened facial features and placid expression make it apparent that the artist was skilled beyond the level of an ordinary provincial sculptor. Her robes contain traces of a floral or medallion design.


On View, Gallery 103


Arts of Asia


Female Shinto Deity


Japan (Object made in)




Wood with traces of polychromy


25 × 17 × 10.8 cm (9 7/8 × 6 3/4 × 4 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with Funds Provided by the Weston Foundation; Alsdorf Acquisition Fund; Russell Tyson Endowment Fund; President's Exhibition and Acquisition Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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