Japanese Antique Earthenware Figure

Japanese Hotei | Vintage God of Contentment & Happiness



Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 3-1/2”w x 2-1/2”d x 4-1/2”h

Hotei, in Japanese mythology, one of the Shichi-fuku-jin (“Seven Gods of Luck”). This popular figure is depicted frequently in contemporary crafts as a cheerful, contented Buddhist monk with a large exposed belly, often accompanied by children. He is represented as a hermit: bald, long ears, expressive smile, with a huge belly. Budaishi, (Chinese name) or Hotei, (Japanese) has his eyes open and drawn back, which is a symbol of universal vision. This standing figure is earthenware and enamel with his face and body finished in a pigmented brown clay, while his draped robe, bag and peach are in a rich turquoise crackle glazing. The piece is hand formed with a makers mark on the inside of the figure.

The God of Contentment and Happiness, guardian of children, and patron saint of restaurateurs and bartenders. He is supposedly based on an actual person, and is widely recognized outside China and Japan for his loving generosity. He carries a large cloth bag over his back (Nunobukuro meaning cloth bag), one that never empties, for he uses it to feed the poor and needy.  It includes an inexhaustible cache of treasures, including food and drink. Indeed, the Japanese spelling of “Hotei” literally means “cloth bag.” In his left had he hold the Peach of Immortality, (or the wish for a long and healthy life). As in Chinese culture, the Japanese believe that peaches are associated with the elimination of misfortune and evil.

Condition: Excellent, perfect condition without cracks, repairs or restorations and color retaining its vivid richness.