Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and cut gold on silk
Image: 59 x 33.2 cm (23 1/4 x 13 1/16 in.); Overall: 120.7 x 51.4 cm (47 1/2 x 20 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1983.75
Jizō is well known for rescuing people from the many Buddhist hells.
This painting depicts the bodhisattva Jizō—an enlightened being who refuses entry into nirvana in order to aid other beings in their quest for enlightenment—in the guise of a monk carrying a wish-fulfilling jewel and a golden staff with a finial adorned with jingling rings. He descends with each of his feet balanced atop a lotus pedestal borne by clouds to rescue a suffering believer who has called out for his help. Images of the Welcoming Descent of Jizō may be related to the Kasuga Shrine, where Jizō corresponds to the kami (Shinto deity) of the third shrine.
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