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.
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Title:Jizō, Bodhisattva of the Earth Store (Kshitigarbha)
Artist:Kaikei (Japanese, active 1183–1223)
Period:Kamakura period (1185–1333)
Medium:Lacquered Japanese cypress, color, gold, cut gold, and inlaid crystal
Dimensions:H. 22 in. (55.9 cm); W. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm); D. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm); Diam. of base 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Credit Line:Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015
Accession Number:2015.300.250a, b
This small figure of Jizō Bosatsu (Skt: Kshitigarbha; Womb of the Earth) grasps a staff in his right hand; the fingers of the left hand, curled as though cupping a small object, must originally have held a wish-granting jewel. His shaved head and the long staff topped with metal rings give him the appearance of a monk rather than a bodhisattva, and like a monk he wears three robes, the outermost of which is a surplice suspended from the left shoulder. Nevertheless, his exalted status in the Buddhist pantheon is clearly indicated by the urna on his forehead and by his long earlobes. In the tradition of bodhisattva figures, he may have worn a necklace.
Like many Buddhist deities, Jizō was originally a Hindu god, incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon in India. While he never gained a large following there, his popularity grew in China, especially after three important sutras on Jizō worship were translated into Chinese during the Tang dynasty (618–907). Known as Jizō's Three Sutras, these teachings established Jizō's place in the Buddhist hierarchy as a savior who appears during the tenebrous period between the passing of Shaka and the coming of Miroku. One of the sutras describes his journey through the Six Realms of Reincarnation (J: rokudō), into which all sentient beings are destined to be born. More than ten Jizō sutras are preserved at Shōsōin, Nara, indicating that Japanese interest in Jizō dates at least to the mid-eighth century.
The Ōjoyōshū (Essentials of Pure Land Rebirth), a text written in 985 by the monk Genshin (942–1017), stimulated the growth of Jizō 's popularity by emphasizing the deity's role as a savior in the Six Realms of Reincarnation. The long staff sometimes held by this deity, as here, most likely alludes to his travels through the Six Realms; Buddhist monks carried similar staffs when they collected alms. Occasionally, Jizō is depicted wearing shoes, also an allusion to his travels. He appears as well in the entourage of Amida Buddha in raigō paintings, accompanying the Amida as he descends to earth to welcome the dying into the Western Paradise.
The Burke Jizō is carved from several blocks of Japanese cypress (hinoki) joined in the yosegi zukuri (multiple block) technique. The figure is hollow, and the crystal eyes are inlaid from the inside of the head. During a recent restoration, several inscriptions were discovered on the interior, including the names Shinkai, En Amida Butsu, and Ryō Amida Butsu (fig. 23). In the middle of these names are the characters for "An [a syllable signifying Amida Buddha] Amida Butsu," the name used by the sculptor Kaikei (fl.ca.1183–1223). Of the other three names, two are those of the same sculptor—Shinkai, who seems to have called himself En Amida Butsu and who is thought to have been Kaikei's principal associate. Shinkai's name appears on a number of Kaikei's works. The name Ryō Amida Butsu, evidently that of another of Kaikei's close associates, is also found on works by Kaikei.
Kaikei was one of the two leading sculptors of the early Kamakura period. The other was Unkei (1151–1223), with whom Kaikei collaborated on sculptural projects commissioned for the monumental reconstruction in Nara of Tōdaiji and Kōfukuji. Kaikei, who is thought to have been a pupil of Kōkei, Unkei's father, and to have been slightly older than Unkei, was atypical in that, unlike most Japanese sculptors of the premodern era, he signed many of his works. Of the forty or so that survive, at least twenty-three are signed; many are also dated by inscription. It is therefore possible to establish a chronology for the evolution of his style.
Three phases of stylistic development in Kaikei's work have been identified. The first phase lasted from 1189 (possibly earlier) until 1192. A sculpture of Miroku in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is signed "Busshi Kaikei" (Buddhist Sculptor Kaikei) and dated 1189. This youthful and vigorous work was strongly influenced by Kokei, whose own style was based on the naturalism of the Nara period. The Boston Miroku and other early works by Kaikei display a markedly naturalistic modeling of the body, along with deeply cut drapery folds that form lively, complex patterns. The second phase of Kaikei's career began in 1192, when he started to sign his works "Kōshō An Amida Butsu" (Craftsman An Amida Buddha), the name he continued to use until sometime before 1208. This was Kaikei's most productive period, in which he received numerous commissions for Tōdaiji and Kōfukuji, tasks that occupied him from the late 1190s until shortly after 1203. During these years he seems to have come under the influence of the monk Shunjōbō Chōgen (1121–1206), overseer of the reconstruction project at both temples. Chōgen had traveled to China three times and was familiar with current continental styles of Buddhist architecture, sculpture, and painting. No doubt inspired by Chōgen's knowledge, Kaikei incorporated Song-dynasty elements into his work. His sculptures from this period, including the Burke Jizō, exhibit well-modulated, calm countenances, a balanced modeling of the body, and a more linear, simplified arrangement of the drapery folds, which are fewer in number than those of his earlier works. This pleasing blend of naturalism and refinement was well received, and came to be known as the An Ami style.
The choice of the name An Amida Butsu was no doubt due to the influence of Chōgen, who called himself Namu Amida Butsu and encouraged his followers in turn to incorporate "Amida" into their own names. Recent studies indicate that Kaikei's religious contacts extended beyond Chōgen's circle. Even before Chōgen's death, in 1206, Kaikei was in close touch with aristocratic monks deeply involved with the Jōdo sect, a cult of Amida Buddha founded by Honen (1133–1212 ), and an aristocratic elegance characterizes many of the sculptures from this phase of his career. Shortly after 1203, when Kaikei was made an honorary priest and given the title hōkkyō, he began signing his name "Kōshō Hōkkyō Kaikei."
During the third and final phase, from about 1209, when he was promoted to the rank of hōgen, to about 1231, Kaikei included his new title on many small statues of the Amida. The faces of these late figures lack vitality and have a somewhat detached expression, though the drapery folds have regained their earlier complexity. That Kaikei inscribed his name on many works, a practice unprecedented in the history of Japanese sculpture, reflects the general awareness of the worth of the individual that was characteristic of the Kamakura period. In Kaikei's case it may have been even more strongly influenced by his deep devotion to Amida Buddha—evident from the names that he adopted as an artist.
The Burke Jizō, which can be dated to about 1202, exhibits the vigorous, youthful appearance of Kaikei's early works. At the same time, the solid, naturally posed body is clad in robes with realistic, elegantly arranged folds. Gold paint and kirikane (thin strips of gold leaf) have been used to decorate the garments with a variety of designs, among them floral motifs, tortoiseshell patterns, and linked octagons.
[Miyeko Murase 2000, Bridge of Dreams]
 Both the hands and the staff are later replacements, as are the toes and the lotus pedestal.  The Daijō daishujii Jizō Jūringyō, the Jizō Bosatsu hongangyō and the Sensatsu zen/aku gohōkyō. See Daizōkyō 1914–32, vol. 13. nos. 411, 412, and vol. 17, no. 839, respectively.  Andrews 1973.  Mōri Hisashi 1961, p. 125; and Matsushima Ken 1985, pp. 97–99.  Mōri Hisashi 1969, p. 28. Among these works are the Amida at Kengōin, Kyoto (1194–99); the Fudō at Sanbōin, Daigoji, Kyoto (1203); and the Monju at Monjuin, Nara (1203). See Mizuno Keizaburō, Kudō Yoshiaki, and Miyake Hisao 1991, figs. 7, 28, and 31, respectively.  See, for example, Hachiman in the Guise of a Monk (1201), at Tōdaiji, Nara; Mizuno Keizaburō, Kudō Yoshiaki, and Miyake Hisao 1991, pl. 46, as well as the Monju at Monjuin (1203), also in Nara.  Mōri Hisashi 1961, pp. 125ff.  Mizuno Keizaburō, Kudō Yoshiaki, and Miyake Hisao 1991, fig. 4.  Miyake Hisao 1986, pp. 131–39; and Aoki Jun 1992, pp. 654–56.
Inscription: In interior: "An Amida Butsu" (Kaikei); Shinkai; En Amida Butsu; Ryo Amida Butsu
[ Galerie Janette Ostier , Paris, 1970; sold to Burke April 1970]; Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)
Tokyo National Museum. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," May 21, 1985–June 30, 1985.
Nagoya City Art Museum. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," August 17, 1985–September 23, 1985.
Atami. MOA Museum of Art. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," September 29, 1985–October 27, 1985.
Hamamatsu City Museum of Art. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," November 12, 1985–December 1, 1985.
New York. Asia Society. "Art of Japan: Selections from the Burke Collection, pts. I and II," October 2, 1986–February 22, 1987.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bodhisattva Jizo, Guardian of Wandering Souls," February 21–May 20, 1990.
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. "Die Kunst des Alten Japan: Meisterwerke aus der Mary and Jackson Burke Collection," September 16, 1990–November 18, 1990.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Japanese Art from The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," March 30–June 25, 2000.
Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," July 5, 2005–August 19, 2005.
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 4, 2005–December 11, 2005.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," January 24, 2006–March 5, 2006.
Miho Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," March 15, 2006–June 11, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 20, 2015–May 14, 2017.
New York. Asia Society Museum. "Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan," February 9, 2016–May 8, 2016.
Nara National Museum. "Great Sculptor of Buddhist Images: Kaikei," April 8, 2017–June 4, 2017.
Tsuji Nobuo 辻惟雄, Mary Griggs Burke, Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha 日本経済新聞社, and Gifu-ken Bijutsukan 岐阜県美術館. Nyūyōku Bāku korekushon-ten: Nihon no bi sanzennen no kagayaki ニューヨーク・バーク・コレクション展 : 日本の美三千年の輝き(Enduring legacy of Japanese art: The Mary Griggs Burke collection). Exh. cat. [Tokyo]: Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha, 2005, p. 71, cat. no. 15.
Murase, Miyeko, Il Kim, Shi-yee Liu, Gratia W. Nakahashi, Stephanie Wada, Soyoung Lee, and David Ake Sensabaugh. Art Through a Lifetime: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection. Vol. 2, Japanese Objects, Korean Art, Chinese Art. [New York]: Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, , pp. 4–5, cat. no. 549.
Nara Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan 奈良国立博物館. Kaikei: Nihonjin o miryōshita hotoke no katachi: tokubetsuten 快慶 : 日本人を魅了した仏のかたち : 特別展 (The buddhist master sculptor Kaikei: timeless beauty from the Kamakura period: special exhibition). Exh. cat. [Nara]: Nara Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan, , p. 126, cat. no. 72.
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