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Because of this identification, he became the protector of horses and the Buddhist counterpart (honjibutsu 本地仏) of deities of common Komagata 駒形 (lit. “By neighing like a horse, the deity wards off bad demons.

"Horse-shaped") shrines, which are found all over Japan. She is especially honored by the horse breeders in northern Japan.

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= awakening seat; the place where one attains enlightenment). Batō is also considered to be the angry form of the Buddha Muryōju (Muryoju) 無量寿.

Batō Kannon is invoked during the Jūhachidō 十八道 practice when closing the vajra net to seal the sacred space. He is distinguished by the white horse's head that he wears like a crown.

Some of Japan’s innumerable Kannon emanations (both traditional and modern) include: Batō Kannon (Japanese)Also spelled Bato or Batou Sanskrit = Hayagrīva Avalokitêśvara Chinese = Mǎtóu Guānyīn Korean = Madu Gwan-eum 마두관음Sanskrit Seed Pronounced UUN ウーン in Japan Shingon Mantra (ご真言)おん あみりとどはば うんぱったOn Amiritodohaba Unbatta Kannon with Horse Head Hase Dera (Kamakura) One of 33 Kannon presented to Hase Dera by Shogun Yoshimasa (1449-1471 AD)For more on Batō, see: Cleveland Museum of Art (outside link)and Norman Havens (outside link).

Batō Kannon, Heian period, 12th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Painting on Silk, H = 166.1, W = 82.7 cm Courtesy: The AMICA Libraryorse-Headed Kannon. Batō Kannon appears in the Mahāvairocana Sūtra (Jp. In this latter role, Batō protects those reborn in the animal realm (chikushōdō 畜生道), a realm characterized by stupidity and servitude.

Well-known examples dating from the Kamakura and Muromachi periods include the standing statues in Kanzeonji Temple 観世音寺 in Fukuoka prefecture and Jōruriji (Joruriji) Temple 浄瑠璃寺 in Kyoto, as well as the painted image of seated Batō in the Boston Museum of Art.

In the Edo period (1600-1868), Batō came to be worshipped as a protector of horses due to his iconography and his role as savior of those in the realm of animals.

It features nearly 130 photos, copious reference notes, spellings in multiple Asian languages, and a handy A-to-Z List of Kannon Forms.

The Kannon Notebook is an ongoing project aimed at scholars, art historians, practitioners, and laity alike. (Horse Headed)Byakue Kannon (White Robed)Esoteric (Tantric) Forms of Kannon Feminized Forms of Kannon Fudarakusen (Kannon’s Paradise)Fukūkenjaku (Never Empty Lasso)Guze Kannon (Prince Shōtoku)Gyoran Kannon (Fish Basket)Hatakiri Kannon (Cloth Ripping)Henge Kannon (Esoteric Forms)Hitokoto Kannon (One Prayer)Jibo Kannon (Loving Mother)Juntei Kannon (Mother of All Deities)Jūichimen Kannon (Eleven-Headed)33 Forms of Kannon)Senchū Yūgen Kannon (Calms Raging Sea)Senju Kannon (1000 Armed)Shō Kannon (Sacred, Non-Esoteric)Six Kannon (Esoteric)Suigetsu Kannon (Water-Moon)Tara Bosatsu (Female Manifestation)Yakuō Kannon (Medicine King)Yōkihi Kannon (Feminine Ideal)Yōryū Kannon (Willow Kannon) Yume-Chigai Kannon (Dream Changer)Yumedono Kannon (Guze Kannon)28 Legions Serving Kannon Amida Triad (Kannon)Kannon Photo Tour Kannon Photo Tour (Asuka)Kannon Pilgrimage Kamakura Kannon Pilgrimages Nationwide Kannon Statues e Store Maria Kannon (Christianity)Objects / Symbols / Weapons Patrons of Motherhood11-Headed Kannon, Wood Hokkeji Temple 法華寺, Nara, H = 100 cm, First Half 9th Century Holds water jar containing Jōsui 浄水,a miraculous elixir that relieves thethirst of devotees; aurole depictslotus buds and lotus leaves. 20, 2005Nine-Headed Kannon Kumen Kannon 九面観音, 8th century. National Treasure Photo: 日本の国宝, #002, March 1997Kannon’s Sanskrit Seed Pronounced SA in Japaneseおん あるりきゃ そわかOn Arurikya Sowaka(also Om Arurikya Sowaka) Kannon’s Shingon Mantra Oṃ Maṇi Padme HuṃLit.

Nowadays you even find bicycles in front of the many stone votive statues to Batō on waysides.

There is also a version with the head of an ox (Gotō Kannon 牛頭観音) or a pig (Tontō Kannon 豚頭観音).

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