Most temple gates in Japan are guarded by a pair of statues known as Nio. Nio's, or Benevolent Kings, have always a fierce and threatening appearance in order to prevent evil spirits from entering the temple.
One of the figures has the mouth open, Agyo, and it represents birth. The other has the mouth shut, Ungyo, and it represents death.
In the picture you can see the Ungyo statue in Todaji Temple.
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