Karura (迦楼羅) is a divine creature with human torso and
birdlike head in Japanese Hindu-
The name is a transliteration of
Garuda (Sanskrit: Garuḍa
गरुड ; Pāli: Garuḷa) a race of enoromously gigantic
birds in Hinduism, upon which the Japanese
Buddhist version is
based. The same creature may go by the name of konjichō (金翅鳥,
lit. "gold-winged bird", Skr. suparṇa).
The karura is said to be enormous, fire-breathing, and to feed
on dragons/serpents, just as
Garuda is the bane of Nāgas. Only a
dragon who possesses a
Buddhist talisman, or one who has converted to
Buddhist teaching, can escape unharmed from the Karura.[citation
needed] Shumisen or
Mount Meru is said to be its habitat.
Karura is one of the proselytized and converted creatures recruited to
form a guardian unit called the Hachibushū (八部衆, "Devas of the
One famous example is the karura statue at Kōfukuji temple, Nara
(amongst the eight deva statues presented at eye-opening ceremony
dated to the year
Tenpyō 6 or 734 AD, pictured top right). This
karura is depicted as wearing Chinese
Tang dynasty style armor, and
thus is seen wingless.
But more conventionally, the karura (garuda) is depicted as a winged
being with human torso and avian head, as in the Vajra Hall (Kongō
buin (金剛部院)) section of the
Womb Realm mandala (Taizōkai
mandara (胎蔵界曼荼羅)) and other iconographic books and
karura gikau mask (source:Shuko Jisshu, Todaiji Hachimangu (1895))
The karura (garuda) mask is one of the stock character masks worn by
performers of the ancient Japanese courtly dance art of gigaku.
The flaming nimbus or halo is known by the name "karura flame" and
typically seen adorning behind the statue of the Fudō-myōō
The karura is also said to be the prototype of the depictions of the
tengu or karasutengu.
Karyobinga (kalavinka) - angel or harpy like creature in Buddhism
Kinnara - another avian creature, sometimes included among one of
Devas of the Eight Classes[ja] (fr:Tianlong babu) - Also called
Tenryū Hachibushū (天竜八部衆, "Devas and dragons of the Eight
Classes"); the comprising list of eight creatures will depend on the
List of avian humanoids
^ a b c d e f g h Shinchosha (1985). 新潮世界美術事典 (Shincho
Encyclopedia of World Art). Shinchosha. ISBN 4-10-730206-7.
^ Hindu Gods and Goddesses in
Japan By Saroj Kumar Chaudhuri p.151
^ a b c d e f Shinmura, Izuru (1976). 広辞苑(Kōjien).
Iwanami. . Japanese dictionary, 2nd revised edition
^ a b Murano, Takao (1997). 興福寺国宝展(Kōfukuji kokuhō
ten)(exhibit catalog). Tetsurô Kôno (trans.). Art Research
Foundation. , Item #3-2, p.vii (English caption), 32-33 (photo),
p.189 (text by Kaneko, Tomoaki(金子智明))
^ The multilexic Shinchosha 1985 dictionary does not give an English
or any other language equivalent for this entry.
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