Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Jizō Bosatsu

Kamakura period (1185–1333)
late 12th–mid-13th century
Wood with lacquer, gold leaf, cutout gold foil decoration, and color
Figure with base: H. 71 1/2 in. (181.6 cm); W. 28 1/2 in. (72.4 cm); D. 22 1/2 in. (57.4 cm) Figure with base and staff: H. 74 1/4 in. (188.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1918
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 224
Jizō Bosatsu (bodhisattva) is usually represented as a gentle, boyish monk holding a wish-granting jewel (mani) in his left hand, and in his right a (shakujō), or monk’s staff with six jangling rings to indicate his travels to succor creatures in need. Mendicant monks observed a rule of silence; they carried such a staff to announce their approach and to frighten away insects and animals lest they inadvertently tread on them. The six rings symbolize the Six Realms of Existence where Jizō is active and the Six Perfections that lead to nirvana: generosity, morality, patience, vigor, concentration, and wisdom. This shakujō finial bears an inscription that commemorates its dedication to a shrine or temple on the sacred mountain at Itsukushima. It has been displayed with this statue since early in the twentieth century.
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