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This is very charming and venerable statue of Jiso Bosatsucast inbronze and gilded in Japan the late 1800's, if not earlier. I do not think he is much later than 1900.
This is a wonderful representation of a Holy One revered throughout all of East Asian Buddhism. He is one of the most beloved of all divinities and is one of the four Bodhisattvas, usually depicted as a Buddhist Monk. He is known for his vow to take responsibility for the instruction of all beings in the six worlds between the death of Gautama Sakyamuni Buddha and the rise of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha to come, as well as for his vow not to achieve Buddha-hood until he can ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving time in hell, (more like the Christian concept of Purgatory) to deliver the faithful into Amida's western paradise (where inhabitants are no longer trapped in the six states of desire and karmic rebirth), and to answer the prayers of the living for health, success, children, and all other petitions. In modern Japan, Jizo is the savior par excellence, a friend to all, never frightening even to children, and his many manifestations incorporate Taoist, Buddhist, and Shinto elements.
Jisois a Bodhisattva (in Japanese: Bosatsu), one who has achieved enlightenment but postpones nirvana until all can be saved. Jizo is often translated as Womb of the Earth, for JI means earth, while ZO means womb. But ZO can also be translated with equal correctness as â€œstore houseâ€� or â€œrepository of treasureâ€� -- thus Jizo is often translated as Earth Store or Earth Treasury. Jizo embodies supreme spiritual optimism, compassion, and universal salvation, all hallmarks of Buddhism.
He is the Patron of children, expectant mothers, firemen, travelers and pilgrims, and is affectionately known in Japan as O-Jizo-Sama or Jizo-san. He is usually depicted as a monk with with a shaved head and carrying a staff (shakujo) to force open the gates of Purgatory and liberate the suffering people. Our Jizo carries a baby in his arms and hasbedrollon his back, indicative of his readiness to be on the road to help any and all.
This figure is 6 1/2 inches tall and is in very good condition for his age, with no serious damage at all. In the photos, it looks as though the gilding is not worn. This is not so, but there does seem to me to be two layers of gilding. This layering is best seen in the photo of the figure's back, where there are fewer complicated shapes to reflect the light.
There is an inscription on the front of the base, which may be a signature of the artist or a prayer. I am unable to decipher the writing. There is also some writing down the back of the figure which is even more elusive.
If you should have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me,
And thanks for looking.
Due to the limitations of photography and the inevitable differences in monitor settings, the color of the pictures on your monitor may be slightly different from statue itself, but I did my best to capture it as it is. And, at least on my monitor, the color is a perfect match.
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I would be more than happy to answer any question you might have.