COLLECTOR'S 1960's rare vintage Mid Century "Seven Gods Of Good Fortune" Okinawa, Japan, Japanese Celluloid Figurines. Each figurine is numbered and in their hard-to-find original wooden lidded box. Also has original paper with description of each Seven Lucky God.
In Japanese mythology, the Seven Lucky Gods or Seven Gods of Fortune (七 福神, shichifukujin in Japanese) are believed to grant good luck and often have their place in netsuke engravings or other representations. Among the seven, not all the gods are mythical characters, one is a historical figure. These Gods have been recognized over a thousand years from the Hindu religion to Buddhism, Chinese Taoism, Shintoist gods or saints, and Japanese religions.
They all began as remote and impersonal gods, but gradually became much closer canonical figures for certain professions and Japanese arts. During the course of its history, the mutual influence between gods has created confusion about which of them was the patron of certain professions. The worship of this group of gods is also due to the importance of the number seven in Japan, which is supposedly a bearer of good luck.
The first two Gods that were worshiped by merchants were Ebisu & Daikokuten who were Gods of business and trade. The Gods were worshiped separately in ancient times and rarely happens now. They were chosen from Hinduist, Buddhist, Taoist and Shintoist gods or saints, and settled into Japanese Folklore Gods, believed to have been grouped together around 17th century. Each has a story to learn and ponder over. Netsuke depicting the Seven Gods of Fortune, is on display at the Bern Historical Museum.
Each brightly colored painted figurine has a number on the bottom from No.#1 to No.#7 (not all in order in photos). The figures measure approx 2" to 2 1/4" in height by 1- 1 1/4" in width. Circa 1950's to 1960's. Photos do not fully capture exact color hues; wait until you see. WOW!
1. Hotei (Budai): His nickname was Cho-Tei-Shi or Ho-Tei-Shi and was known as the God of fortune, patron of barmen, God of popularity, and guardian of children. His depiction is of a old, fat, half nude, bald, smiling man with a curly mustache. Hotei was a Zen priest that carried a bag loaded with fortunes in a bag on his shoulders. The Japanese believed in Hotei during the Edo era. According to legend, Hotei's real Chinese name was Kaishi and his death is documented as March 916.
2. Ebisu: This God's origins are purely Japanese and from the Izanami and Izanagi era . He is the patron of fishermen, the God of prosperity and wealth in business, of abundance of food, and he can be seen in restaurants with a fishing rod in hand, fishermen outfit, and sometimes with a fish.
3. Jurojin (Chinese Taoism): People view this God of the Elderly & Longevity as an incarnation of the southern polestar and based on a real person who lived in ancient times known as Jurojin. He is known for his long white beard, long skull, riding a deer, accompanied by a tortoise and crane. These are infinity symbols that represent long lives and represented under a peach tree that is known for its antioxidant properties to prolong life. He enjoys rice and wine.
4. Benzaiten (Hinduism): She is the patron of dancers, artists, writers, and geisha that has a lute-like biwa instrument accompanied by a white snake. She is smart, beautiful, and talented. Her figure appears in the entrance of temples referred to as the "Torii". She comes from the Hindu Goddess, Saraswati whose origin is found in Hinduism.
5. Daikokuten: This God is the God of commerce and prosperity attributed to being the patron of cooks, bankers, farmers, and protectors of crops. He has short legs, wears a hat, and has a bagful of valuable items. Legend has it he was a demon hunter who once captured a demon with a talisman on the branch of a tree in his garden using this as a trap.
6. Fukurokuju (Chinese): The God Fukurokuju was a God of wisdom, wealth, happiness, luck, longevity and was known as being a reincarnation of Hsuan-wu, a Taosit God who received certain credits as a Chinese philosopher who could survive without eating and able to resurrect the dead. He carries a cane in one hand, wears a traditional Chinese costume attire, has a scroll in another hand, and accompanies by a crow, deer, or turtle that symbolizes long life. He is also known as the patron of Chess players and used to be a hermit during the Chinese song dynasty.
7. Bishamonten (Hinduism)(adapted by the Japanese culture): He is known as the God of Fortune in battles and war that are associated with dignity & authority. He is the patron of fighters, that acts as a holy protector of holy sites and fights against evil. He wears body armour, a helmet, and carries a pogado in his left hand within a hoop of fire. He originates from the Hindu God "Vaisravana" also known as "Kubera.
Excellent vintage condition overall. No chips or marks. Bright color and very clean. The only wear that we see is #6 missing its staff and #5 missing its hand. Box excellent/light normal wear for age. No chips. Paper is very good/normal age wear including yellowing-creasing. Text on paper is clear-blur is only photo.
Do not pass up this very rare exceptional vintage Japanese figurines; will make a FABULOUS gift for yourself or someone special in your life!!
RARE 'Seven Gods Of Good Fortune', Mid Century Japanese Celluloid Figurines, Original Box, Mythology, Okinawa, Japan, Mythical Characters, Buddhism, Shintoist Gods, Japanese Religion
$119 $172 SALE