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Jizō was especially popular as a rescuer of souls in hell; his powers of salvation derive from Ksitigarbha, the ancient Indian earth goddess. His face radiates tenderness and compassion, fitting to his role of relieving pain and suffering.
Jizō is also worshipped as a protector of children and travelers. Usually portrayed as a young monk, he carries the alarum staff to frighten insects away from his steps and the cintamani jewel to illuminate the darkness.
Purchased for the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1959.