In Japanese temples, a figure of Tamonten usually stands at one of the four corners of the altar. He is depicted as a fierce, armor-clad warrior, punisher of evil-doers and defender of Buddhism, standing on a demon, symbol of ignorance and the enemy of Buddhism. He holds a spear in one hand and a small pagoda in the other; the pagoda symbolizes the divine treasure house, whose contents he guards. This sculpture is composed of several parts made during different periods, the later parts probably replacing broken or missing elements.
The Jacob Pins Collection: Japanese Prints, Paintings, and Sculptures, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1994