This Japanese vintage Satsuma porcelain plate of the Seven Lucky Gods has the red and gold Satsuma mark including the circle with the cross inside which is the Shimazu Family Mark. I have not yet found a mark to match the rest, although I did find a Satsuma piece made with very similar decor on the Gotheborg site 'thought to date to the 1940s'. I had thought when I first saw it, that it dated to around the 1920s, so possibly between the 1920s and 1940s the painting is so very similar. The gilt is so very gold, and very fine as one can see from the pictures. The plate is somewhat lobsided and not perfect, so it is probably handmade, the painting is most definitely done in overglaze enamels with lots of gold and beautiful warm Satsuma colors. The motif is that of the polite or human form of the 'Seven Lucky Gods', the 'Seven Gods of Fortune', or 'Shichifukujin 七福神'. They appear to be sitting in a room in the temple and are surrounded by a black and white kimono material, one which they are holding is decorated with a dragon. All of the Seven Gods have their Gold Halos, and I am not even sure that is what it is called, it could be their auras. See more below from the Japanese Buddhist Statuary. This plate is near perfect in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. It does have the yellowing on the bottom that many pieces of Satsuma get as they age, there is some minor age wear to the kodai or foot, and there is probably some age wear to the front although not obvious. A beautiful Satsuma plate.
SIZE: Diameter 7 1/8 inches and cm, Height 1 1/8 or cm.
'Seven Lucky Gods' or 'Shichifukujin 七福神'
Excerpted from, and See More at the Japanese Buddhist Statuary website for which we have added this part to our 'Favorites' links on our Homepage
History: Originated in the Late 15th Century Says JAANUS: These seven auspicious deities are first believed to have been grouped together and given the name ‘shichifuku’ during the Muromachi period. At first, the group’s members were not fixed and Benzaiten became one of the seven somewhat later. The group of seven may derive from the Chinese subject of Seven Sages in a Bamboo Grove.
The Shichifukujin 七福神 are an eclectic group of deities from Japan, India, and China. Only one is native to Japan which is Ebisu the god of Fishermen, and Japan’s indigenous Shintō tradition. Three are deva from India’s Hindu pantheon: Benzaiten, Bishamonten, and Daikokuten, and three are gods from China’s Taoist-Buddhist traditions: Fukurokuju, Hotei, and Jurōjin. Each deity existed independently before Japan’s artificial creation of the group. The origin of the group is unclear, although most scholars point to the Muromachi era of 1392-1568, and the late 15th century. By the 19th century, most major cities had developed special pilgrimage circuits for the seven.
Local traditions and pilgrimages are further discussed on this page, even the superstitions about the related luck for rubbing their heads!
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