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Asian Art

Welcoming Descent of Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Jizō Bosatsu Raigō)

15th–16th century

Hanging scroll: ink, color, and gold on silk

without mounting: 35 1/16 × 14 3/4 in. (89.1 × 37.4 cm)
with mounting: 68 1/8 × 21 1/8 in. (173 × 53.6 cm)
with rollers: 23 7/16 in. (59.5 cm)
Gift of Arthur F. Wright
1972.44
A protector of children and travelers, Jizō, the Bodhisattva of the Earth Matrix, is one of the more popular Buddhist deities in Japan. Shown here descending from the sky on clouds, Jizō traversed the six realms of rebirth—hell, hungry ghosts, animals, semidivine asuras, humans, and gods—to save and guide the devout. Although he is a bodhisattva, Jizō’s accessibility to humanity is shown in his clothing: he is traditionally depicted with a shaved head, wearing the robes of a Buddhist, and carrying a wish-granting jewel and a monk’s staff. Jizō is also believed to assist in pregnancy and childbirth, and he protects the souls of aborted and miscarried children. Stone sculptures of this bodhisattva wearing a red hat and bib often line the pathways in, or leading to, Buddhist temples.
Geography: 
Japan
Culture: 
Japanese
Period: 
Muromachi period (1336–1573) or Momoyama period (1573–1615)
Classification: 
Paintings
Provenance: 

Prof. Arthur Frederick Wright (1913–1976), Guilford, Conn; gift in 1972 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan, “The Interstitial Buddha: Picturing the Death of Sakyamuni,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 58–60, fig. 12.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.