Treasure Hunt
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Kamakura period
Jizo, early 13th century
Wood, gesso, metal, and kirikane

This figure is holding a monk's staff with six rings at the top. Monks used this type of staff to announce their presence when walking. When they struck the ground with the staff, the rings at the top jingled and rattled, frightening away any insects or small animals they might accidentally step on, thus following a basic Buddhist rule against taking life in any form. This figure is not an ordinary traveling monk but Jizo, one of the most popular figures in the Buddhist religion who is believed to help children and women. Jizo stands on a pedestal shaped like a lotus flower, an important symbol in Buddhism. In his left hand he holds a wish-granting jewel. Here he is shown coming down from the heavens to help people on earth. How do we know this?