The Miraculous Interventions of Jizo Bosatsu

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Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 13th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 30.5 x 1431.9 cm (12 x 563 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Buddhism, Japan, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), makimono

Charles Lang Freer, purchased through Samurai Shokai サムライ商会, 1907, Yokohama, Japan [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]


[1] Samurai Shokai, located in Yokohama, Japan was a famous curio shop in the early 20th century. Nomura Yozo 野村洋三 (1870-1965) opened the store in 1894; by the turn of the century, the store achieved international renown and offered a mail order service. Charles Lang Freer first met Nomura Yozo in 1895, during his first visit to Japan. In 1895, Freer hired Nomura as his personal guide. Over time, Nomura Yozo became Freer's agent in Japan.

Freer purchased this work in 1907 while traveling in Japan. See "Oriental Painting Inventory," Box 64, Folder 2, Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC copies in object file.

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Research completed on August 9, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Samurai Shokai (C.L. Freer source) founded 1894


In Japan Buddhist themes were common in early narrative handscroll paintings, which flourished from the late twelfth century.  This handscroll depicts the miracles performed by Jizo, a compassionate bodhisattva (enlightened being). It vividly demonstrates the versatility of the artist in painting people of all social classes with sympathy and realism.  A text precedes the episode shown explaining the story of Jizo's appearance in the dream of a Buddhist priest to demand the performance of a ceremonial dance at the Kasuga Shrine in Nara.  The extraordinary beauty of the dance led to a belief that the Buddhist deity Jizo and the Shinto deity Kasuga Myojin were two forms of the same deity.

Published References
  • Caroline Hirasawa. The Inflatable, Collapsible Kingdom of Retribution: A Primer on Japanese Hell Imagery and Imagination. vol. 63, no. 1 Tokyo. pl. 6.
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 2: pls. 72-75.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: pt. 2, pp. 86-87, vol. 2, pt. I, pl. 62.
  • Yashiro Yukio. Toyo bijutsu ronko [Studies on Representative Works of Chinese and Japanese art in the United States and Europe]. 2 vols., Tokyo. pls. 45-49.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 11, vol. 2: p. 154.
  • Betti-Sue Hertz. Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia. Exh. cat. San Diego, November 6, 2004 - March 12, 2006. p. 19, fig. 7.
  • Umezu Jiro. Jizo reigenki kaiji shu [Texts from the Various Paintings of the Miracles of Jizo]. Tokyo. pp. 51-57, pls. 3-4.
  • Fukue Mitsuru. Tateyama mandara: etoki to shinko no sekai [Tateyama Mandala and its Instruction]. Tokyo. p. 60.
  • Umezu Jiro. On the Scroll Painting "Jizo engi" in the Freer Collection and its Copies by Tannyu. no. 13 Osaka, March 1954. pp. 61-69, pls. 7-8.
  • Caroline Hirasawa. Hell-bent for Heaven in Tateyama mandara: Painting and Religious Practice at a Japanese Mountain. p. 80, fig. 53.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 100.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 104-105.
  • Michiko Hayama. Medieval Age Picture Drawing Scroll: A History of the Human Figure Sleeping. Japan. pp. 138-139.
  • Yashiro Yukio. Scroll Painting "Jizo engi" in the Freer Gallery of Art. no. 76 Tokyo. pp. 155-170, pls. 3-7.
  • Yasuda Tuguo. Nanbokucho-Muromachi Period. History of Japan Series, vol. 7. p. 162.
  • Ikumi Kaminishi. Explaining Pictures: Buddhist Propaganda and Etoki Storytelling in Japan. Honolulu. p. 184, fig. 8.7.
  • The beginning of Samurai World: The history of Japan series. vol. 3, , Juvenile ed. Japan. pp.206-207.
  • Yamamoto Satomi. "第一話の主題」地蔵菩薩霊験記「フリーア美術館所蔵: 女性の罪業としての嫉妬と諍い." The subject of the first scene of The Miraculous Interventions of Jizo Bosatsu of the Freer Gallery of Art: Jealousy and Quarreling as sins of women. Vol. 65 Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 2020. p. 777, 782, and 783, figs. 1-9 and 11.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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