Saruishi (Monkey stone; unusual shaped rocks in the tomb of Kibitsu-hime no Okimi) (猿石)

Saruishi are four unusual shaped rocks located in the tomb of Kibitsu-hime no Okimi adjacent to the west of Umeyama-kofun Tumulus (Currently designated as the Mausoleum of Emperor Kinmei). Although they are human-faced stone statues, it is said that they are not monkeys but statues of Toraijin (people from overseas, especially from China and Korea, who settled in early Japan and introduced Continental culture to the Japanese).

They were dug out of a rice field called Ikeda of Hirata Village close to Umeyama-kofun Tumulus in 1702 and placed on the south of the tumulus, then around 1868 they seemed to be replaced to the present place. Each of the four statues are nicknamed from its appearance, as "Woman," "Sanno Gongen" (incarnation of Buddha), "Priest" and "Man" respectively from left to right. They are double-faced stones with a face carved on the back of the statues except for the Priest, on the back of which something like ribs are carved.

Since the tumulus is railed off, only a front view of the statues is available, however, in the garden of the Asuka Historical Museum of Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, there is a replica, on which the appearance of the back side and so on can be observed.

Saruishi in Takatori
Another stone statue called Saruishi is placed on the side of a path leading to Takatori-jo Castle. It is said that the statue was excavated from the same place as the above four were and later replaced to the present place, but it is not certain.

[Original Japanese]