Jizō, Bodhisattva of the Earth Store (Kshitigarbha)

Kaikei Japanese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 224

Jizō, a beneficent bodhisattva who relieves those suffering in hell, is among the most pictured Buddhist deities in Japan. He attends Amida as the Buddha delivers the pious to the Western Paradise in the afterlife. As seen in some of the paintings exhibited here, Jizō is easily recognizable among the members of Amida’s holy retinue. He usually appears as a young Buddhist monk with a shaved head and priestly robes.

He carries in his right hand a staff (shakujō) that he shakes to awaken humans from their delusions. His left hand most likely held a wish-granting jewel (hōju), signifying the bestowal of blessings. An inscription on the interior of the figure identifies this as a work by Kaikei, one of the two leading sculptors of the early Kamakura period.

On view for all rotations

Jizō, Bodhisattva of the Earth Store (Kshitigarbha), Kaikei (Japanese, active 1183–1223), Lacquered Japanese cypress, color, gold, cut gold, and inlaid crystal, Japan

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