Meiji, 19-20th century
H: 11cm, D: 13cm, L: 22cm
Collector’s box with mention : “Daikoku tokooki, Meiji 38 October, Kawakami Satarō” (probably a collector’s name)
Daikokuten, which originated in Mahākāla in the Buddhist name for Shiva, is one of the Seven Lucky Gods which symbolizes great darkness or blackness, or the god of five cereals. This god is loved by the Japanese because he is a symbol of wealth and prosperity. He has always a mallet in his hand, and is often depicted with it and a big bag hold on his back standing on the straw rice bag. He is also depicted with mouse, very often, because it is believed that mouse is a messenger of this god. The mouse is an auspicious animal in Japan because of its strong propagation. The messenger mouse is especially called “Daikoku nezumi (mouse)”, and has been a popular motif in the Japanese arts.
Daikokou is standing on two straw rice bags on one leg, raising his right hand on holding a mallet. He is holding a big bag which is bigger than him. His plump face and ears are symbol of the prosperity in Japan. The material is a boxwood which is often used to carve the Buddhism statues. This is a very hard wood and natural has the peculiar luster naturally.
There is no signature, but the carver should have had great technique to carve. The carving is quite elaborate and fine in detail as Daikoku’s clothes or two mice, and straw rice bags. There is no doubt that this is a great masterpiece carved by the anonymous.