This is rare antique 1800's kyu- Bizen ware pottery okimono of Ebisu 恵比寿, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune called Shichi Fukujin 七福神, also called the Seven Lucky Gods in Japanese mythology and folklore. This okimono or statue represents Ebisu. Ebisu is the god of fishers or merchants, often depicted carrying a sea bream which is a type of fish, as in this case. He is sitting on a rock holding his basket of fish, and extremely happy. Bizen ware is wonderful wabi-sabi ware, which you can also find more about by searching in the store or internet. This piece is with a wonderful patina in different shades of brown and reddish brown. The age of this item is from the 1800's; sometime between the Edo- Meiji eras per the seller from Japan. He is in very good antique condition with no cracks or chips. The dating according to the seller in Japan, kyu- Bizen means old Bizen and us usually used for wares made during the Edo period or earlier, prior to the Meiji period which began in 1868. Because he is very old, there is not a signature, which is often the case. Because we have shared much about Bizen ware with some of the other items, we will share summation of the Shichi Fukujin below. There are no cracks or chips, and he has lovely antique Bizen ware patina.
SIZE: Height 4.65 ", 11.8 cm, Width: 3.15" x 2.75" or 8 x 7 cm
History of 七福神 Shichi Fukujin or the Seven Lucky Gods
Each one of the Seven Lucky Gods has a traditional attribute as follows: 1. Hotei, the fat and happy god of abundance and good health, 2. Jurōjin, god of long life, 3. Fukurokuju, god of happiness, wealth and longevity, 4. Bishamonten, god of warriors 5. Benzaiten Benten-sama, goddess of knowledge, art and beauty, especially music, 6. Daikokuten (Daikoku), god of wealth, commerce and trade. Ebisu and Daikoku are often paired and represented as carvings or masks on the walls of small retail shops, 7. Ebisu, god of fishers or merchants, often depicted carrying a sea bream.
Many figures in Seven Lucky Gods were transmitted from India and China, including all of the Seven Lucky Gods except Ebisu. The seven gods are often depicted on their ship, the Takarabune 宝船, or Treasure Ship. The tradition holds that the seven gods will arrive in town on the New Year and distribute fantastic gifts to worthy people. Children often receive red envelopes emblazoned with the Takarabune which contain gifts of money around the New Year. The Takarabune and its passengers are often depicted in art in varied locations, from the walls of museums to cuddly caricatures.
pictures courtesy of t.s.
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