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Dragon King

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

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  • A work made of magnolia wood with traces of pigment.


11th/early 12th century



About this artwork

These two wooden sculptures originally belonged to a group of eighteen Shinto deities (kami) believed to have come from the Izumo district on the north coast of the island of Honshu. Thanks to recent research, it has been determined that both are made from magnolia wood, a rare material for Shinto sculptures. Twelve of the sculptures are in American and Canadian collections, while others are in the UK and Japan. The Dragon King, originally an Indian Hindu god, was gradually incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon. Veneration of this deity, who rules the seas, spread with Buddhism from India to China, and via Korea to Japan; there the Dragon King was further transformed into a Shinto god.


On View, Gallery 103


Arts of Asia


Dragon King


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Magnolia wood with traces of pigment


H.: 102.2 cm (40 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Robert Allerton

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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