This set of Godai Myōō constitutes a rare example of which few extant works remain. Considering the height of statues, these were probably not principal images in the particular Buddhist hall, but they were applied during private ceremonies. The iconography is similar to the one in the preaching hall of Tō-ji Temple in Kyoto Prefecture, however it is rare that the statue of Gundari myōō (Skt. Kuṇḍaī) raised a leg up.
Masterworks from the Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall at the Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 2010, p.140, no.137.
Statues of five Myō'ō (Vidyārājas) had often been made since the Heian period as principal images of the Ninnōkyō-hō ritual which was performed for the purpose of protecting the nation and avoiding misfortunes. In agreement with their role as angry deities of Japanese esoteric Buddhism, powerful, fierce, and stirring appearance are depicted. There are two types of five Myō'ō statues: one type has been worshipped in the Shingon sect and was modeled after the set of statues brought from China by Priest Kūkai, and the other type was modeled after another set of Chinese statues brought by Priest Enchin and has been worshipped in the Tendai sect. This set of five Myō'ō statues belongs to the former type. The center statue Fudō-myō'ō is surrounded by the Gōzanze-, Gundari-, Dai-itoku- and Kongō-yasha-myō'ō figures.
Each of the statues was made from a single piece of hinoki wood (Japanese cypress) without carving inside of them. The excellent carving work of the robust bodies with heavy modeling, complex appearance, and precise carving of the powerful movements reflect the characteristics of the single-block carving technique during the Heian period.
Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, pp.20-21, no.9.