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Bachmann Eckenstein Art & Antiques

Jizo Bosatsu - Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha
18th c.; Edo Period (1603 - 1868)
H: 13.2 cm

In Asia, Kshitigarbha is generally worshipped as a saviour bodhisattva who will help the devoted during the age of the decline of Buddhist teachings. In Japan, Kshitigarbha is known as Jizo and has a more specific function: he is widely worshipped as the protector of ailing children and aborted foetuses. As mothers of the deceased young souls, women seem to have been the principle shapers and creators of the Jizo cult, and it flourishes in Japan today. The deity's childlike image encourages the parent to see him alternately as an innocent child and a gentle saviour figure. Small crude statues of Jizo, with red bibs and sometimes staffs topped with rings, are placed on temple grounds and public roads in memory of young souls.

Jizo Bosatsu has been worshiped since the Heian period. He is represented wearing rich brocade robes with a white face and holding a hoju [sacred jewel] in his left hand to illuminate the darkness of hell, and a shakujo in his right hand. This statue shows Jizo descending from the heavens, as suggested by the cloud that supports his lotus pedestal.

Remains of gilding, staff bend
Wooden box (Kibako)

all text, images � Bachmann Eckenstein Art & Antiques


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