Welcoming Descent of Jizō

Welcoming Descent of Jizō

地蔵菩薩来迎図

1200s

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

Description

This painting depicts the bodhisattva Jizo—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 Jizo may be related to the Kasuga Shrine, where Jizo corresponds to the kami (Shinto deity) of the third shrine.

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