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
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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.