My name is Jon and I live in Los Angeles. I've visited Japan a lot so that's what this blog is about...visiting Japan, Japanese history and samurai movies.
What is that on ... err, his? her? its? ... head? Fish? That might be a clue if it's a character from mythology. Well, never mind, it's scary enough. Let's not probe too deeply! :)
Hmm, good question.
Doesn't matter! It is scary enough to protect you from bad spirits :)Japan Australia
Maybe that's why it is at the front door of a shop and home, it is to scare of the evil spirits. That's a good guess I think.
It looks like a female warrior but I think it could be also a female travelor or a female worker "spirit symbol" used to protect the house.I've found that the Japanese will use demon images for protection but also human looking dieties as well. If you look at the entrance gates to Shinto Shrines, they have protector gods on either side. They are used to keep out evil spirits.The only reason I think it is a female warrior is the figure on the head. It looks like something a warrior would wear (animal spirit symbol that will give the wearer strength of the animal or cunning, speed, etc.)
It could be a shaman or priest. I think it is definately female and the thing on top of her head is symbolic of something significant with the statue. Perhaps a fertility symbol?