According to legend, the god of Kasuga Shrine in Nara arrived in the eighth century riding on the back of a deer. Deer were subsequently venerated as messengers of the gods or kami at the shrine and still roam freely around the city's temples and shrines. Deer are even the subject of a popular type of devotional painting. There are at least forty extant paintings of a white or chestnut-colored sacred deer, standing on a cloud and carrying a sacred tree mounted on its decorated saddle. The tree supports a large golden disc, or mirror, with images of the five main Kasuga deities in their Buddhist forms. For an example in the Nara National Museum see Victor Harris, ed., Shinto: The Sacred Art of Japan (London: British Museum Press, 2001), pl. 78.