Like many dieties within the Buddhist pantheon, Jizo_ (Kishitigarbha in Sanskrit) was adopted from the Hinduism where he was worshipped as an earth god. In Buddhism, however, he is thought to assist those reborn into one of the six realms of existence, especially hell. As early as the tenth century, he was portrayed as a young, itinerant monk who carries a pilgrim's staff and a wish-granting jewel. This statue shows Jizo descending from the heavens, as suggested by the cloud that supports his lotus pedestal. The exquisite workmanship and extreme elegance of the figure, particularly the serene beauty of the face, are elements associated with the Kei school of sculptors active during the Kamakura period (1185-1336).