Kshitigarbha, Bodhisattva - Essence of the Earth - is one of the eight principal Mahayana students, or 'heart sons,' of Buddha Shakyamuni.
The 'Eight Heart Sons,' including such notables as Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara, figure prominently in the various Mahayana Sutras of Northern Buddhism. Kshitigarbha is particularly associated with bringing help and comfort to those in the underworld realm of hell beings.
Originating with the Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra, Kshitigarbha has remained primarily a character of the Mahayana Sutras. There are only a few Tantric texts and rituals that include him and because of that he does not have a fixed and readily identifiable iconographic appearance like Lokeshvara or Manjushri.