- Museum number
Painting, hanging scroll. Mandala of Kasuga Shrine deity in form of Jizo Bosatsu. Jizo as a Buddhist monk descending on cloud, standing on lotus, with halo of fifteen rays of light; holding jewel in left hand and Buddhist monk's staff in right. At top, Mt. Kasuga and Mt. Mikasa; five circular disks, showing deities of four main halls of Kasuga Shrine and Wakamiya. Ink, colours and gold leaf on silk. With paulownia storage box.
- Production date
Height: 192 centimetres (Entire scroll length)
Height: 134.90 centimetres (Image)
Width: 62.10 centimetres (Entire scroll length)
Width: 40.50 centimetres (Image)
- Curator's comments
Compare with Matsushima Ken, Jizo bosatsu zo (Nihon no bijutsu 239), nos. 108 (TNM, Kamakura period), no. 110 (NNM, Late Muromachi Period, Ichiiya Workshop) [Gyotoku Shin'ichiro, 12/01]
Kṣitigarbha (Jizō) stands holding his monk's staff and the wishing jewel. The five Buddhist counterparts of the Shintō gods of the Kasuga shrine, shown above, make this a painting of the mixed Pure Land-Shintō cult associated with that shrine. Specifically Kṣitigarbha corresponded to the deity of the Kasuga Sanden building but later represented the whole complex. Kṣitigarbha's Pure Land associations make this a ‘raigō’ painting in which he welcomes the dead into paradise.
Hizo Nihon bijutsu taikan Vol 1
This work falls, like Plate 48, into the genre of Kasuga mandalas, in which Buddhist divinities are represented as the original forms of the Shinto deities enshrined in Kasuga Shrine. Here, however, these deities of the four main shrines and the Wakamiya are aligned in a row near the top of the painting of Ksitigarbha (J. Jizo).
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva appears in the period between the deceased Shakyamuni's entry into nirvana and the future Buddha Maitreya's attainment of Buddhahood when there is no Buddha in the world. In the hope of saving all sentient beings, Ksitigarbha transmigrates through the 'rokudo' (literally, "six paths" - namely, 'jigoku' (hell), 'gaki' (hungry ghosts), 'chikusho' (beasts), 'Ashura' (Asura), 'jin' (humans), and 'ten' (paradise; heavenly beings), or "six worlds" of rebirth achieved by the effects of one's personal actions. Thus he was long revered in China and Korea, and in Japan from pre-Heian times, as a deity with the power to save souls from the torments of hell.
In keeping with the teachings of the 'Jizo jurinkyo' and other sutras, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is usually depicted in the form of a monk, and may be shown seated in the lotus position, standing, or seated with one leg bent and the other dangling. In older depictions, Ksitigarbha wears a monk's robe and carries a jewel in his left hand while making a gesture of bestowal with his right. In the newer style he wears a surplice and bears a jewel in his left hand while grasping a monk's staff with the other. The work in the collection of the British Museum is of the latter, newer style.
This work is an example of a 'raigozu', or painting showing Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva in the form of a monk coming down on a cloud to greet believers. He stands on a lotus, with fifteen rays of light shooting out from behind his head. A jewel rests on the palm of his left hand, while his right hand lightly grips a monk's staff.
However, this work deviates from the typical Ksitigarbha 'raigo' due to the presence at the top of the work of Mt. Kasuga and Mt. Mikasa and, just below them, five circular disks showing the Buddhist counterparts of Shinto 'kami' enshrined in the four main halls and the Wakamiya. These elements indicate that this work is a 'suijaku' painting representing Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva as the 'honji' or "original ground" of his Shinto counterpart, Ame-no-koyane-no-mikoto, who is enshrined in the third hall of Kasuga Shrine.
In this fine work, Ksitigarbha appears as a handsome young man who has the power to rescue sentient beings from hell. Notable pictorial elements include the finely wrought detail in the light-brown stripes of his robe as well that in the golden lotus and hemp leaves. This painting likely dates from no later than the end of the Kamakura period.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2010 Oct 14 - 2011 Apr 3, BM, Images and Sacred Texts: Buddhism across Asia
2019 2 October - 24 November, BM Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries, 'Nara: Sacred Images from Early Japanl'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.Add.390 (Japanese Painting Additional Number)