Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Finial of a Buddhist Monk’s Staff (Shakujō)

Edo period (1615–1868)
H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm); W. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1907
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.
Dr. Swan Moses Burnett , New York (until d. 1906; sale, American Art Association, 1907,
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bodhisattva Jizo, Guardian of Wandering Souls," February 21, 1990–May 20, 1990.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27, 1998–September 27, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," 1998.

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