Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Small Granite Figure of Jizo Late Edo/Early Meiji

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Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
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Marion, CT 06444-0395

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A Small Granite Figure of Jizo  Late Edo/Early Meiji
This small hand-carved Meiji period Japanese sculpture of Jizo, a bosatsu (Buddhist saint), dates to the late-19th century, Meiji period. This is a fine example of the distinctive style of stone Jizo which originated from Sadogashima, an island in the Japan Sea off the coast of Niigata Prefecture long famous for its production of small-scale stone sculptures of Jizo.

Carved from the unique Sado Island granite in the image of a Buddhist monk with a shaven head, this Jizo stands with hands clasped. His patient, gentle face is very tranquil, and his simply rendered facial expression reflects a deep inner peace and serenity.

The gentle Jizo is one of the most popular and revered Buddhist deities in Japan. He is guardian to children and travelers and pregnant women. All across Japan you will see him, generally weathered, his carved stone edges worn and rounded. Images of Jizo, the eternal guardian, are typically carved in granite or volcanic rock and placed at crossroads, where his presence is security for those traveling the roads, or on the grounds of a temple, where he will be asked to assist those in need. Because of their role in protecting travelers, stone images of Jizo were extremely prevalent at roadside shrines in the old days.

This granite image of Jizo is a wonderful representation of the gentle and compassionate nature of this most beloved deity. The condition of the carving is excellent, and in spite of exposure to rain and wind for so many years, the features on his face remain clear and distinct. The piece measures 5 5/8 high by 2 wide and 2 deep at the base. We date it to the period of 1880s-1890s.

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