Jizo is a bodhisattva, a divine being of infinite grace and compassion who forestalls his own buddhahood in order to help sentient beings to enlightenment. Since the 10th century, he has been portrayed as a young, itinerant monk who carries a pilgrim's staff and a wish-granting jewel. He is popularly believed to assist those condemned to the torments of hell, and the wayward souls of deceased children. 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).