Zen'en / Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Jizo Bosatsu) / Kamakura period, 1223-1226Zen'en
Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Jizo Bosatsu)
Kamakura period, 1223-1226

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Creator Name: Zen'en
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Dates/Places: Active first half of 13th century
Creator Name-CRT: Zen'en
Title: Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha (Jizo Bosatsu)
View: Full view: back
Creation Start Date: 1223
Creation End Date: 1226
Creation Date: Kamakura period, 1223-1226
Creation Place: Japan
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Cypress wood with cut gold leaf and traces of pigment; staff with metal attachments
Dimensions: H. 22 3/4 in. (57.8 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.202a-e
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Rights: http://www.asiasociety.org
Context: The introduction of Buddhism to Japan was one of the most important events in Japanese history and had a lasting effect on the development of its thought, art, and culture. According to Japanese sources, Buddhism was introduced from the Korean kingdom of Paekche in either 538 or 552 as part of a series of diplomatic exchanges that also led to a broader awareness of the beliefs and material culture of China and Korea. The Heian period (794-1185) in Japanese history began when the capital was relocated from Nara to Heian-kyo (present-day Kyoto). It has often been suggested that the capital was moved to help the court diminish the influence of the Buddhist clergy in Nara, who had at times played an important role in secular affairs.

This elegant and extraordinarily well-preserved statue of Kshitigarbha, Bodhisattva of the Earth Womb, represents a deity introduced to Japan in the Heian period. Although he is mentioned in Sanskrit texts, the worship of Kshitigarbha appears to have been more important in China, Korea, and Japan than in South or Southeast Asia. Kshitigarbha is worshipped as a savior bodhisattva who will help guide the faithful during the age of the decay of the Buddhist teachings--before the coming of Maitreya, the Buddhist of the Future. Kshitigarbha is usually depicted as a Buddhist monk with a shaved head and a monk's staff in his right hand. He holds a jewel of wisdom (chintamani), which grants all wishes, in his left hand. Kshitigarbha is also worshipped as the protector of women and children and of travelers; stone statues of this bodhisattva are often placed at crossroads.

The careful depiction in this sculpture of the folds of Kshitigarbha's garments, proportions, and the naturalistic rendering of his face, hands, and feet typify the interest in realism that characterizes the art of the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the capital was moved much farther east to Kamakura and the country was in the hands of military rulers. Kshitigarb
Related Document Description: Kuno, Takeshi. 'Daibusshi Zen'en to Sono Sakuhin' (Daibusshi Zen'en and His Works). Bijutsu Kenkyu 240 (May 1965), pp. 11-16.
Related Document Description: Kurata, Bunsaku, ed. Zaigai Nihon no shiho (Japanese Art Treasures in Foreign Collections). Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbunsha, 1980, vol. 8, p. 132.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. New York: Asia Society, 1970, pp. 78, 79, 92.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. 'Asian Arts of the Rockefellers.' Connaissance des Arts 25 (February 1982), pp. 60-61.
Related Document Description: Rosenfield, John M. 'The Perfection of Japanese Sculpture.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 427-28.
Related Document Description: Shimada, Shujiro, ed. Zaigai Nihon no shiho (Japanese Art Treasures Abroad). Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbun, 1980, vol. 2, p. 132, pl. 40.
Related Document Description: Toyo Kobijutsu Tenrankai Mokuroku (Catalogue of an Exhibition of Ancient East Asian Art). Tokyo: Society of Buddhist Art, 1936, pl. 1.
Related Document Description: Washburn, Gordon Bailey. 'The John D. Rockefeller III Oriental Collections.' ARTnews 69 (September 1970), p. 41.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 90.
Related Document Description: Kennedy, Alan. 'Kesa: Its Sacred and Secular Aspects.' Textile Museum Journal 22 (1983), pp. 74-75.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.202a-e
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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