Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shinto/Buddhist Votive Plaque with Image of Jizo (Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva) Attached to a Circular Mirror

Heian period (794–1185)
12th century
Diam. 14 in. (35.6 cm); Image on disc: H. 11 7/8 in. (30.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, Rogers Fund, and Gifts of Hartwell J. Staples, Major General R. B. Woodruff, and Germain Leao Velloso, in memory of her husband, Ambassador Pedro Leao Velloso, by exchange, 1985
Accession Number:
Not on view
A Shintō icon that reflects the mutual influences in Shintō and Buddhist practices is the kakebotoke, a Buddhist image set on a disk that is at times hung on the closed doors of a Shintō shrine to represent the kami with whom the Buddhist deity is identified. This unusually large example displays the refined taste of the Fujiwara court in the gilt repoussé image of the Bodhisattva Jizō, with its graceful elongation and subtle modeling of face and figure. The figure, lotus throne, and double halo are all separately modeled by hammering and are attached to the disk with small nails, a technique of the late Heian period. Kakebotoke of the Kamakura period are often cast with figures in full relief. Among the finest and earliest known, this one may have been used at the Fujiwara shrine at Kasuga. There the deity Ame-no-Koyama, mythical ancestor of the Fujiwara, was enshrined and venerated as the Japanese manifestation of Jizō.
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