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Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons: Nature, Literature, and the Arts

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Jizō (Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha)

Period:
Kamakura period (1185–1333)
Date:
12th–13th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Wood with traces of gilded lacquer, cut-gold decoration and color
Dimensions:
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)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1918
Accession Number:
18.93
  • Description

    The bodhisattva Jizō dressed as an itinerant monk holds a with-granting jewel and a monk's staff with six rings that announces his coming as he traverses the six realms of being in Buddhist thought. From hell to paradise, Jizō's compassionate presence illuminates the righteous way and saves from harm those who call out to him.

    The beautiful flowing movement of the garment dates this work to the early Kamakura period. Sculptures from that time show an interest in the actual presence and physicality of the figure. The shoes are unusual, found only occasionally on standing Jizō sculptures of the late twelfth to thirteenth century. Traces of richly colored paint and cut-gold decoration remain on the lower half of the sculpture, giving us a rare glimpse of the work's original beauty.

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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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