Welcoming Descent of the Bodhisattva Jizō

Unidentified artist

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 225

Veneration of the bodhisattva Jizō became widespread during the Kamakura period. Among the imagery associated with Jizō originating in this period is a type called raigō, or pictures of the “welcoming descent” of a deity or retinue of deities to the human realm. This example shows Jizō in the guise of a monk, descending from the heavens to aid the suffering, especially those in hell. He wears shimmering silk robes described with a meticulous layering of gold paint, mineral pigments, and cut gold foil. Derived from images of Amida descending to welcome and escort a dying believer to his Pure Land, this painting portrays Jizō surfing the sky on a bank of cloud, his feet upon lotus pedestals. He carries a wish-fulfilling jewel and a golden staff with six jangling rings to announce his arrival. Images of this type are commonly associated with the Kasuga Shrine in the ancient capital of Nara.

On view for rotations 1 and 2

Welcoming Descent of the Bodhisattva Jizō, Unidentified artist, Hanging scroll; ink, color, and cut gold on silk, Japan

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