Showing posts with label fukurokuju. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fukurokuju. Show all posts

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shichifukujin The 7 lucky gods

All of these statues of the 7 lucky gods of Japan are at Taizo-Ji, a temple at the southern end of the Kunisaki peninsular. This first one is Daikoku, usually equated with Okuninushi, though originally a Hindu deity, Mahakala, a war god. In japan he is associated with agriculture, rice farming and the kitchen. He is usually depicted carrying a magic mallet, standing on a pair of rice bales and with a sack of treasure over his soldier.
The reason these statues are silver is that they are covered with little silver papers that visitors purchase from the temple and apply to the statues while making their prayers/requests. On the silver paper are bonji, a japanese version of an ancient sanskrit script.
This is Fukurokuju, god of wisdom and longevity and sometimes credited with the power to revive the dead. He is a manifestation of the southern Pole star and is linked to a myth of a Chinese Taoist sage. He is a later addition to the seven, replacing Kichijoten.
Benzaiten, a Hindu deity called saraswati, is usually depicted holding a Biwa, Japanese lute, and is associated with all that flows,... water, words, music etc. Often equated with the shinto kami Ichikishimahime
Ebisu is often considered to be the only Japanese god of the seven. The god of fishermen, workingmen, and good luck. He is immensely popular and is often depicted paired with Daikoku as a manifestation of the father-son pair Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi. He is usually depicted carrying a fish.
Bishamonten is a god of war and warriors, so obviously popular with samurai. Originally Hindu, he is the leader of the Shitenno, the 4 heavenly kings of Buddhism and protector of the north.
Jurojin, another Taoist god of wisdom and longevity, often confused with Fukurokuju and said to inhabit the same body.
Hotei, known as the Laughing Buddha in the West, is probably based on a real Chinese Zen monk. He is the god of happiness and the patron of bartenders!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Almost the 7 Lucky Gods of Japan


I found this eclectic tableau at the entrance to Suisei-en on the yamanobenomichi.

The figure on the far left is Hotei, one of Japan's 7 Lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin), and is associated with abundance and good health. He came from China where he is named Budai, and is also known as the laughing Buddha, which is the name I associate him with as I had a small statue of him when I was young.

The gentleman in the middle back is Fukurokuju, another member of the Shichi Fukujin, and he is associated with wisdom and longevity and probably derives from a Chinese star God, Shou.

To the right stand 2 tanuki, who are not gods or kami, but have existed in Japanese folklore since ancient times as shape-shifters. They are also associated with good fortune.

In the center are Daikoku and Ebisu, both members of the Shichi Fukujin and often equated with Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi. Daikoku is the god of wesalth, commerce , and trade, and is derived from the Hindu God Shiva. Ebisu is the god of fishing and merchants, and is usually believed to be the only one of the Shichi Fukujin not from India or China.

The 2 snakes in the front I'm not sure about. Snakes have many connotations in Japan, especially water, so they may be representations of Benzaiten, one of the Shichifukujin associated with music, art, and eloquence. Based on a Hindu River God, Saraswati.