The Journey

Jizo Bosatsu

  • 27
  • Zen'en (Japanese, 1197–1258)
  • Japan
  • Kamakura period, ca. 1221–26
  • Wood, lacquer, cut gold, crystal, bronze
  • H. 22 3/4 in. (57.8 cm)
  • Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.202a–e
  • Kasuga Shrine
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The bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Jizo Bosatsu in Japanese), one of the most popular deities of the Japanese pantheon, is usually portrayed as a monk carrying a staff and wish-granting jewel, as here. He is a compassionate being able to aid believers in myriad ways. Stone statues of Jizo stand at crossroads and near cemeteries throughout Japan, where they convey his role as a guardian of pilgrims and other travelers on the roadways of this life and beyond. Inscriptions found in the interior of this sculpture suggest that it belonged to a set of five sculptures representing a group of divinities associated with the powerful Kasuga Shrine and Kofukuji Temple complex.

PHOTO CREDIT: Asia Society, New York

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