The Tōdai-ji temple and the Great Buddha of Nara were built in the 8th century. For Buddhists Tōdai-ji is a place of reverence. For all visitors, Tōdai-ji is a special place because of its large dimensions, its long history and the numerous objects loaded with symbolism that are preserved there.
In Shintoism deer have been messengers of the Gods or Kamis and venerated as such. According to the legend, over a thousand years ago Kami Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto arrived to the mountains of Nara riding on a white stag. Buddhist beliefs also influenced the protection of the deer in Nara. In the Western world, the stag has been an allegory of Christ in Catholicism and of Mercurius in Alchemy.