Originally depicted as a nihizo goddess (Buddhist deity with two arms), today Marici (The Buddhist god of war) is constructed in many forms including in the image of a male god or as a sanmen roppizo (Buddhist deity with three faces and six arms). As the symbol of heat-haze or shimmering light personified, Marici has been worshipped by samurai families since ancient times, Sengoku (warring-period) samurai Mori Motonari or Tachibana Dosetsu used the crest of Marici, while Yamamoto Kansuke and Maeda Toshiie—famous generals from the same period—were both said to be firm believers.
The colored Marishiten statue is a significant religious artwork in Japanese Buddhism and Shintoism, symbolically representing the goddess Marishiten (もりしせん). Marishiten is worshipped as a goddess of combat, courage, motherhood, and protection, especially revered by samurai, martial artists, and as a guardian deity of households.
These statues are enshrined in beautifully adorned Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, where they are received as sacred beings by believers and visitors alike. Typically crafted from wood and meticulously colored, these sculptures pay great attention to detail, accurately depicting Marishiten's distinctive multi-armed female form and her iconic weapons.
The use of vivid colors in the colored Marishiten statue emphasizes her divinity and strength, with meticulous coloring extending to every detail, making the sculpture come to life. Gold leaf and gemstones are sometimes used, further enhancing her beauty and sacredness.
Devotees come before these statues to offer prayers and offerings, seeking courage, protection, and happiness from Marishiten. She is particularly revered by warriors, martial artists, and parents praying for the safety of their families.
In summary, the colored Marishiten statue is a beautiful piece of religious art that visually represents reverence and faith in Marishiten, a goddess of combat, courage, motherhood, and protection. It plays a significant role in Japanese religion and culture, celebrating her divinity and sacredness, and providing believers with hope and protection.