These Japanese Antique Bizen Ware Pottery Ornaments of Daikoku and Ebisu two of the Japanese Shichifukujin 七福神 or Seven Lucky Gods. The Seven Lucky Gods all began as remote and impersonal gods, but gradually became much closer canonical figures for certain professions and Japanese arts. Daikoku and Ebisu are often seen together.
Ebisu is the only one whose origins are purely Japanese. He is the god of prosperity and wealth in business, and of abundance in crops, cereals and food in general. He is the patron of fishermen and therefore is represented with fishermen's costumes such as a typical hat, a fishing rod in his right hand and a fish that symbolize abundance in meals. It is now common to see his figure in restaurants. Daikokuten is the god of commerce and prosperity. There are other characteristics which have also been attributed to him, such as being the patron of cooks, farmers, bankers, and protector of crops. Curiously, he is also considered a demon hunter - legend says that the god Daikokuten hung a sacred talisman on the branch of a tree in his garden and, by using this as a trap, he was able to catch a demon. This god is characterized by his smile, having short legs and wearing a hat on his head. He is usually depicted with a bag full of valuable objects.
Bizen ware is one of the oldest potteries in Japan, known as wabit sabi pottery, and as one of the famous old six potteries, called Rokkoyo. These were a purchase from one of our favorite dealers in Japan. This pair of ornaments present them in a netsuke size small form and are quite adorable. The one on the left is Daikoku and he is holding his lucky hammer. Ebisu on the right is holding up a fish. They are hand made by hand forming. They are over 100 years old dating to the Meiji period of 1868-1912, and because of their age have a gorgeous patina. They are a nice Bizen Pair. They are in very good condition except for the on chip on the top of his hammer. Please see the most informative information below about Bizen yaki- Bizen ware.
SIZE: Height 2 inches or 5 cm, Width 1.5 inches or 3.5
Bizen Ware Pottery or Bizen- Yaki 備前焼き
Bizen is the pottery of Okayama Prefecture in Japan and was chosen as one of the famous old 6 potteries, called Rokkoyo. This pottery is also one referred to as of the Wabi-sabi, the comprehensive view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete.
Bizen ware is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable by its iron-like hardness, reddish brown color, absence of glaze though there can be traces of molten ash looking like glaze, and markings resulting from wood-burning kiln firing. Bizen is named after the village of Imbe in Okayama prefecture, formerly known as Bizen province. This artwork is Japan's oldest pottery making technique, introduced in the Heian period. Bizen is one of the six remaining kilns of medieval Japan.
above is an excerpt from and see more at the Okayama Prefecture tourism website.
Additionally from the modern Japanese pottery marks blogspot 'according to Marmie':
Bizen Yaki has a history of about one thousand years. It has avoided foreign influences and has remained true to the old shapes and techniques. Kei Fujiwara in Barbara Adachi's ‘The Living Treasures of Japan’ said, ‘There is not better clay anywhere. We dig it up from beneath the rice paddies of Imbe. Just feel it. Yes, it can be described as creamy and silky to the touch, but what is important to the potter is that it has great plasticity.’ The Six Families of Bizen, as mentioned on Robert Yellin's blog, are Kaneshige, Mori, Kimura, Ottan, Hayami, and Terami. The first three families are still producing wonderful wares. Of course, there are incredible potters with the names of Fujiwara, Yamamoto and more!
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