Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jizo, Protector of the Unborn


When I visited Japan in 2008 I saw lots of statues dressed in red cloth. It wasn't until after I was home that I did a little research to find out what the red cloth might mean. Here's a little of what I found:

  • According to Japanese folk belief, red is the color for expelling demons and illness. The color red was dedicated not only to deities of sickness and demon quelling, but also to deities of healing, fertility, and childbirth. Jizō's traditional roles are to save us from the torments/demons of hell, to bring fertility, to protect children, and to grant longevity -- thus Jizō is often decked in red.
  • One of Japan's most beloved deities, Jizō is the guardian of travelers, the hell realm, children, and motherhood.
  • In modern Japan, Jizō is popularly venerated as the guardian of unborn, aborted, miscarried and still born babies
Quick google searches provide lots more information. Here is a link to one of my sources.

I finished this painting last week, just in time for the Northeast Minneapolis art crawl: Art-a-Whirl. I have heard this is the largest open studio event in the United States.

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