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They are not exactly friendly, these two huge temple guardians, who came to the Rijksmuseum from Japan in 2007. Muscles tensed, as if they might attack at any moment, their gestures are hostile and their glare is downright terrifying. Their attitude, happily, is directed not at humans, but at all the forces that threaten Buddhism. They will not be mocked, though: a photographer who pulled a face at the figures while he was taking pictures of them found that the fuses blew twice. In this edition of the Rijksmuseum Series author Menno Fitski tells you more about the origins of the two guardians, deeper layers of meaning and their decoration. Their function is no longer to repel – on the contrary, they are now one of the greatest attractions in the Asian Pavilion.