Vintage Japanese Seven Lucky Gods Nodder Kokeshi | Shichi-Fuku-Jin


Dimensions: Three Shorter Kokeshi - 6-0”h — Four Taller Kokeshi - 9-0”h

This exceptional set is known in Japan as Shichi Fuku-jin, the ‘Seven Gods of Good Fortune’. Adapted from various Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto gods and saints, they were grouped together in Japanese folklore around the 17th Century. According to tradition, the Seven Lucky Gods arrive aboard a treasure- laden ship, (Takarabune) on New Year’s Day, and distribute gifts of wealth and prosperity to worthy people.

Each doll is a Nodder Kokeshi, lathe turned, with hand-painted details as well as charming props and tools of their trades. All fully are still intact. Each doll has a stamp, "Made in Japan". (Basically, the phrase “made in” means that the product was either entirely made in Japan after 1921, although we are dating this set around 1960). Included in this set is the book written on the subject entitled: The Seven Lucky Gods of Japan by Reiko Chiba, 1966. (Note: each figure comes in its original cardboard box.) This set is quite large and not like most advertised which are small “Okimono” miniature versions. This specific set was recently published in A Collector’s Guide: Traditional and Creative Kokeshi and Toys.

Vintage Condition: Exceptional. “As is”, and retains the original craft/workmanship. No discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage. 

NOTE: The symbolic meanings and physical attributes of the Seven Lucky Gods vary slightly, depending where you are in Japan, but are roughly as follows:

Benzaiten is the goddess of knowledge, art and beauty. She is the only female among the seven. She wears a flowing, Chinese-style dress and holds an instrument, usually a mandolin.

– The god of warriors and defense against evil, Bishamonten has a fierce demeanour, and is nearly always dressed in armour with a weapon in hand.

Daikokuten is the god of wealth, commerce and trade. He usually has a smile on his face and a big bag of money, and is sometimes pictured holding a magic mallet.

Ebisu is the god of fishermen and merchants. He tends to be pictured holding a fishing rod and/or a sea bream.

– The god of happiness, wealth and longevity, Fukurokuju has an elongated forehead and a long moustache. He too holds a walking stick with a scroll tied to it, so is often confused with Jurojin.

– The god of abundance and good health, Hotei is depicted as a Buddhist monk with a smiling face and a protruding belly. He is usually pictured holding a sack and a wooden staff.  

Jurojin is the god of wisdom and long life. He is portrayed as an old man with a long white beard, who wears a hat and holds a walking stick with a scroll tied to it.