Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Six Jizo

The six statues above depict the Buddhist deity Jizo, the patron saint of travelers and the protector of the souls of children in the underworld. The Jizo at far left holds a Buddhist rosary; the next has its hands joined in prayer; the third and sixth Jizo appear to carry the Japanese pilgrim's staff, or tsue; the fourth has (apparently) in its left hand the mystic jewel, the Nio-i ho-jiu, with the power to grant all desires; and the fifth holds in its left hand the mystic jewel and supports in its right the mendicant priest's staff, the shakujo, with its six rings at the top. Cups of water are placed before the group, and a single cup sits in front of the multitude of miniature statues (representing the souls of children) in the open-sided granite "box", which is likely a representation of the netherworld.

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