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Jizo Bosatsu 1

Jizo Bosatsu (The Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha) Gray granite Edo period.

Jizo is the only Bodhisattva not depicted in the crown, jewelry, and complex drapery of an Indian prince. Instead, he is portrayed as a Buddhist monk, having a shaved head and wearing a simple monk's robe. Because he has several important functions, Jizo is the second most popular Bodhisattva in Japan after Kanon. Jizo rescues the damned from Hell; he is also the guardian deity of chidren and the patron saint of travelers. More formal images show him holding a Buddhist monk's iron staff, which he uses to batter down the doors of Hell. In his other hne he holds a Flaming Jewel, the sybol of Buddhist wisdom, with which to light the darkness of the underworld In this simple folk image he clutches the Flaming Jewel to his chest.