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Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Kuroiwa Toyotaka portrays Jizo

On this page: 1000 pieces - 300 pieces - More about the artist

The characters warmly portrayed in these images by Kuroiwa Toyotaka are all Jizo (also written Jizô or Jizou - the final 'o' is long), a Buddhist character so widely revered in Japan that he has literally become part of the scenery. Stone statues can be seen everywhere, usually in rows, typically adorned with red bibs, and always seeming to smile.

Each of these pictures includes a little poem - illustrating the absence in Japanese artistic conventions of a sharp distinction between painting and calligraphy. I've attempted to give the flavour in a translation.

Jizo is the bodhisattva known as Ksitigarbha (in Sanskrit): more interesting details in the Wikipedia article and in Mark Schumacher's Buddhist corner

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Kuroiwa Toyotaka


Toyotaka seal

The artist was born in Nagano in 1947, and specialises in Buddhist themes, with a distinctive whimsically warm style. (Kuroiwa is his family name - he signs his pictures with a stylised seal of his given name, Toyotaka.)

Deleted puzzles

For reference: you can view all the Kuroiwa puzzles that are out of print in the Attic.