Antique Ivory Netsuke - SEVEN GODS of GOOD FORTUNE

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  • Item Category: Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Nov 01,2006
  • Channel: Online Auction
These NETSUKES are 100% SOLID ELEPHANT IVORY and in PERFECT CONDITION. They are HAND CARVED, HAND SCRIMSHAWED and SIGNED by the artist. These NETSUKE are UNIQUE and exhibit BEAUTIFUL IVORY GRAIN. These NETSUKE were carved in China over a century ago. These are beautiful pieces of art that will last you many lifetimes.
7 Gods of Good Fortune
These exquisitely carved okimono depict the 7 Lucky Gods. This is one of the finest sets of the 7 Gods of Good Fortune available today. A stunning addition to any serious netsuke collection.

The Seven Gods of Luck play an important part in Japanese life considered benevolent friends and their effigies adorn most homes. is a brief synopsis of each of them:

* Benten

The only female amongst The Seven Gods of Luck, she is an example of the Japanese way to syncretize their popular gods. She is the Hindu goddess Sarasvati whom Buddhism had adopted in modified form and as such she is the patroness of literature, music, and love. On the other hand, Shinto associates her with the realm of the sea by proclaiming her a daugher of Ryujin, the Dragon King, and her sanctuaries are on islands or near seashores.

* Bishamon

He is one of the four kings who in Brahminism are the guardians of the corners of the world. Passing through Buddhism, he becomes one of the Twelve Kings of Heaven. In representations of The Seven Gods of Luck, Japanese artists show him often in armor, holding a big axe, with a rather ferocious expression on his face. This sometimes leads to the mistaken belief that Bishamon is a God of War. In fact, he is considered a God of Wealth.

* Daikoku

He assumes the identity of the Hindu God Mahakala. He is also venerated in China. The Japanese regard him as the kami of agriculture, the Buddhist as a symbol of prosperity and good luck. Daikoku's effigy is considered a talisman for a happy and abundant year. Daikoku is also the protector of commerce.

* Ebisu

He is a purely Japanese creation. He is the patron of fishermen and a model of the indefatigable and honest workman. During the 12th Century, his attributes underwent a change and he became the protector of merchants.

* Fukurokuju

He carries in his name his characteristics, namely fuku = luck, roku = wealth, and ju = longevity. He is believed to be an incarnation of Lao Tzu, the chinese founder of Taosim. Fukurokuju is always shown laughing, in contrast to the other god of Longevity, Jurojin, whose facial expression is serene.

* Hotei

The most popular among the Seven Gods of Luck, is of Taoist origin. Already in China his name Putai (Mr. Linen-bag) speaks for his popularity. His enormous stomach is symbolic of the greatness of his soul. To Buddhist he is the incarnation of Miroku Bosatsu, the Buddah to come. His permanent smile represents contentment and happiness and his love of children is proverbial.

* Jurojin

He is the other God of Longevity and a Star God, being indentified with the southern polar star. He is usually represented as a venerable old man in formal dress, wearing a headgear, and being accompanied by a deer, a crane, a minogame or other symbols of long life. The custom wood stand is, of course, included. Dimensions (each): 2.00" x 1.25" Weight (total): 4 ounces
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