Posted by: softypapa | December 25, 2007

Old Japan Ebisu Statue – God of Fishermen & Morning Sun

Old Japan Ebisu Statue God of Fishermen Morning Sun Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Old Japan Ebisu Statue God of Fishermen Morning Sun Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Old Japan Ebisu Statue God of Fishermen Morning Sun Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Old Japan Ebisu Statue God of Fishermen Morning Sun Japanese Tokaido Softypapa 


Old metal images of Daikoku and Ebisu, two of the most famous and celebrated gods within the Japanese Shinto (native religion of Japan) pantheon (please read below to learn more about Shinto).  Daikoku and Ebisu are members of a group of seven popular luck gods collectively known as Shichifukujin.  These famous gods (six male and one female) are frequently seen together in Japanese art, often on a boat sailing the seas of fortune.  Daikoku is usually depicted holding his wonderful luck hammer which he waves to dispense good fortune upon worthy humans.  The god is also frequently shown standing upon two large bales of rice, an auspicious symbol of prosperity.  The happy luck god wears one of the most captivating smiles in all Asian art and is nearly always depicted in the act of joyfully visiting wealth and happiness upon the earth (note the bag of goodies carried over his left shoulder).  Ebisu is Japan’s god of fisherman and the morning sun.  Ebisu is also sometimes regarded as the protector of small children, a role he shares with the Buddhist deity Jizo.  Legend holds the Ebisu was once a real man (a fisherman in fact) who rescued a boneless (it’s a long story) god named Hiruko from the sea.  Ebisu (who’s full name at that time was Ebisu Saburo) went on to live a life full of troubles after which point he become a Shinto deity.  Ebisu has always been popular in Japan and images of this happy, ever smiling luck god are found everywhere in art, masks and statuary.  Ebisu is sometimes depicted holding a long fishing rod in his right hand and a large sea bream (tai) fish under his left arm.  That Daikoku and Ebisu share many happy and gregarious traits may be less surprising when we know that Daikoku is reputed by some to be Ebisu’s father.

About the Listed Item

This wonderful old Japanese Daikoku and Ebisu statue set was made during the mid Showa period (1926-1989) or before.  The statues are in poor condition with no cracks though each figure has marks and scratches from age and wears a darkened patina of age.  These are ‘piggy bank’ statues with holes in the back for the receipt of coins and holes in the bottom for their removal.  The caps which once covered the holes are missing and the area around the holes are rusty.

Size of Ebisu:
Height: 3.5 inches (9.0 centimeters)
Weight: 4.3 ounces (122 grams)

Size of Daikoku:
Height: 3.5 inches (9.0 centimeters)
Weight: 3.8 ounces (108 grams)

Click here to see other Daikoku items!
here to see other Ebisu items!
here to see more Shinto items!
here to see additional treasures from Japan!

More about the Shinto religion

Shinto is one of the two major religions of Japan (the other is Buddhism).  Shinto is often considered to be the native religion of Japan, and is as old as Japan itself.  The name Shinto means “the way of the gods.”  Shinto is a pantheistic religion, in which many thousands of major and minor gods are thought to exist.  The Japanese have built thousands of shrines (jinja) throughout the country to honor and worship these gods.  Some shrines are huge and are devoted to important deities.  Other shrines are small and may be easily missed when strolling along roads in the countryside.

Shinto gods are called kamiKami are thought to have influence on human affairs, and for this reason many Japanese make regular pilgrimage to community shrines in order to offer prayers to local kami.  The act of prayer involves approaching the shrine structure, passing through the gate-like torii, cleansing the hands and mouth with water and possibly ascending stairs to the main entrance of the shrine.  Usually without entering the shrine the worshipper will throw some coins into a stone or wooden collection box and then rattle the suzu bell which is at the top of a long hemp rope.  The worshiper grabs hold of the rope and shakes it back and forth causing the copper bell at the top to rattle.  This is thought to get the attention of the shrine god.  The worshipper then bows twice, claps his or her hands twice and then bows again.  In addition, the worshipper may clasp their hands together in silent prayer.  Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to find a comfortable coexistence in Japan.  Evidence of this harmonious relationship is found in the fact that that most Japanese are married in a Shinto shrine, but buried by a Buddhist priest.

More photos below!

item code: R2S5-0003653
ship code: L1650


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