Figure of the bodhisattva JizōOn display
Contact us about this object
The Buddhist figure Jizō is a special protector of children, travellers and women. Jizō is an example of a bodhisattva – enlightened beings who devote their lives to freeing others from suffering. Bodhisattvas are not worshipped, but inspire others to reach enlightenment.
Jizō is usually shown as a monk with a shaven head and pilgrim’s robes, carrying a staff with metal rings that jingle to warn insects of his approach. Jizō also carries the bright jewel of Buddhist truth, a symbol of the endless power of Buddhism. He has a third eye on his forehead and elongated ears, both symbols of enlightenment.
Figure of the bodhisattva Jizō
Date16th century (1501 - 1600)
Material and technique
wood, with carved decoration, and traces of lacquer and gilding
Dimensions160 x 65 x 75 cm max. (height x width x depth)
No. of items
Presented by M. Georges van Houten, in memory of his wife Anne Suzanne, 1961.
Museum locationSecond floor | Gallery 36 | Japan from 1850
Glossary of terms
Chinese and Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the lacquer tree, which is indigenous to Eastern China. It is applied to wood as a varnish or for decorative effect. In India and the Middle East, lacquer is made from the deposit of the lac insect.