Protector of those tormented in hell, women from childbirth, and warriors in battle, travelers and children, including dead children and aborted fetuses –Jizō the Bodhisattva of the Earth Matrix carries a pilgrim’s staff and a “mani jewel” whose protective light is associated with wish fulfillment. Apparently he’s quite popular in Japan, particularly in cemeteries and roadsides. I was particularly drawn to the jewel-orb and to the delicate but strong hands that hold it. The detail is extraordinary, down to the fingernails, which add a nice touch. Made of cypress and polychrome and inlaid crystal, this Jizō figure was commissioned in 1321. I think he was purchased and brought to Boston in 1905.