I normally do not deal with Japanese objects, and they are not my favorite - most are too cold and too perfect for me.  However, Jizo stones represent a lovely, gentler form, coupled with the naturalism of their long term exposure to the elements.  Jizo is a bodhisattva and one of Japan's most loved deities.  He is represented smiling as a gentle monk, and his purpose is to alleviate suffering and protect the weak, particularly children who die young.  In Japan you may see these in gardens, on the roadside, in mountain passes, or the entrance to old graveyards.  This one is carved from one piece of stone, and stands 15 1/2 inches high, with some attractive lichen accumulation on the surface.  It dates to the late Edo Period, which ended in 1867.  I love this stone - and have very mixed feelings about parting with it. 


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