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shichifukujin@_
KEY WORD :@ art history / iconography
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Lit. the seven gods of good fortune. The group comprises *Ebisu b{, *Daikokuten 单V, *Bishamonten V, *Benzaiten ٍV, *Fukurokuju \, *Juroujin Vl and *Hotei z. In paintings, the seven are frequently shown riding in a treasure boat *takarabune D, which is an auspicious symbol, especially found during New Year celebrations. The seven deities have independent origins in Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto. Although the impetus for the grouping is uncertain, these seven auspicious deities are first believed to have been grouped together and given the name shichifuku during the Muromachi period . At first, the members of the group were not fixed and Benzaiten became one of the seven deities somewhat later. The group of seven may derive from the Chinese subject of Seven Sages in a Bamboo Grove *chikurin shichiken |ю of the Wei-jin period (Jp; Gi-Shin 鰐W: 220-420) or from the famous Buddhist term from the sutra NINNOUGYOU mo, shichinan sokumetsu shichinan sokushou  , lit. seven adversities disappeared and seven fortunes arose). From the 15c. the shichifukujin gained in popularity, especially among urban merchants and artisans, as an auspicious omen and motif of good fortune and longevity, and appear in many painted, sculpted or printed examples . Typically Ebisu wears courtly hunting clothes with a folded, pointed cap kazeori eboshi ܉GXq, holds a fishing rod in his right hand and a freshly caught red snapper tai in his left. Daikokuten usually wears an ancient courtly hunting dress and a cloth cap, stands on two bushels of rice, carries a huge bag over his left shoulder, and holds a mallet of good fortune kozuchi to his chest. Bishamonten often sports a thin mustache and beard, wears the ancient Chinese style dress of guardian deities, holds a spear hoko in his right hand and a Buddhist pagoda *tahoutou on his left palm. Benzaiten is usually represented as a beautiful goddess in courtly garb, playing a lute biwa i. Fukurokuju is recognizable by his high-domed bald head and beard. He wears a Chinese robe, and holds a staff. Often accompanied by a crane. Juroujin, in the dress of a Chinese sage, holds a staff and a scroll, often accompanied by a deer. Hotei is a stout, pot-bellied figure who either leans on a huge, bag or carries it hung on the end of his staff which is slung over his shoulder.
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Shichifukujin _
a) Benzaiten ٍV@ b) Juroujin Vl c) Fukurokuju \
d) Hotei z e) Daikokuten 单V f) Ebisu b{
g) Bishamonten V
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