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Collection Exhibition
Bodhisattvas: Symbols of Salvation and Comfort
March 7th, Saturday - April 6th, Monday, 2015
Closed Mondays except April 6th
Hours 10 am to 5 pm
(entrance closed at 4:30 pm)
General admission Adult 1000 yen, Student 800 yen
Gallery 1/2
Bodhisattvas (bosatsu in Japanese) are deities who, despite having attained enlightenment for themselves, willingly descend into the human realm, where they face the joys and sorrows of human life and extend a hand in salvation. The search for peace of mind led people to create a wide variety of bodhisattva images, from Kannon (Avalokiteshvara) who takes numerous different forms, to Jizō (Kshitigarbha) who rescues those who have fallen into hell, and Monju (Manjushri) and Fugen (Samantabhadra) who attend Shakyamuni himself, flanking him on both sides. The kind and maternal, if at times stern, gaze and expression of the bodhisattvas are charged with the earnest desires of the people.
This exhibit presents about forty exceptional works of sculpture and painting depicting bodhisattvas from the Asuka to Edo periods from the Buddhist art collection of the Nezu Museum.

Gallery Exhibits

Important Art Object
Standing Kannon-bosatsu (Avalokiteshvara)
Japan Asuka period, 7th century
Nezu Museum
The pose of the right hand raised and a pitcher held in the left is frequently seen in Kannon figures of the Asuka and Nara periods. The childlike facial features and adornment of the body with large accessories are also characteristic of this period.
Seated Jizō-bosatsu (Kshitigarbha)
Japan Kamakura period, 13th century
Nezu Museum
Jizō-bosatsu is represented as a monk-like figure holding a sacred jewel and a monk’s staff. He enters the six realms, where all animate beings are drawn into the cycle of rebirth as a result of their actions during their lifetime, and extends his hand in salvation to those who suffer there.
Standing Bosatsu (Bodhisattva)
Japan Heian period, 11th–12th centuries
Nezu Museum
The courtiers of the late Heian period favored gentle features and graceful figures enveloped in subtly carved robes. This work is close to the style that was perfected by the sculptor Jōchō in the 11th century and is considered an exemplary work of Japanese-style Buddhist sculpture.
Important Cultural Property
Fugen-bosatsu (Samantabhadra) and the Ten Demonesses
Japan Heian period, 12th century
Riding a white elephant with six tusks and attended by ten demonesses, Fugen-bosatsu represents protection for adherents of the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva’s kind features reflect the aesthetic preferences of the women of the imperial court.
Nyoirin Kannon (Cintamani-cakra Avalokiteshvara) with Priest Shōkū on Mt. Shosha
Japan Muromachi period, 15th century
Nezu Museum
The Heian-period Tendai monk Shōkū went into seclusion on Mt. Shosha in Harima province (present-day Hyōgo prefecture) and carved a figure of Nyoirin Kannon out of a cherry tree. This work, which was produced in the Muromachi period, is an unusual example that combines a deity figure and a portrait.
Kannon-bosatsu (Avalokiteshvara) Seated on a Rock
Japan Nanbokuchō period, 14th century
Nezu Museum
This depicts the scene of Zenzaidōji (Sudhana) visiting Kannon, who lives on Mt. Potalaka, to ask about the Buddhist teachings. Modeled on a Yuan-dynasty Chinese ink painting, it is rendered by layering fine ink lines.