Mori Kyokkō (1894-1947)



Okimono “Daikoku nezumi”
Keyaki wood (Zelkova serrata)
Taisho-Showa, 20th century
Signed: Kyokkō
Mori Kyokkō (1894-1947)
H: 11.5cm, D: 11.5cm, L: 23.5cm
No box

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. He is also depicted with mouse 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.

Mori Kyokkō was a great sculptor of great skill. He was born in Shiga prefecture as a son of a sculptor, Mori Kyokusui. He was known as a sculptor of the Buddhism temples and shrines.

Three mices on a mallet are very lovely. Two small ones might be the children of the biggest one. Only the big mouse has hairs on its body. The carving to depict hairs is extremely fine. Kyokkō was also known for the wooden sculptures to put in the tokonoma. This piece is exactly a tokooki (object to put in the tokonoma), which was believed to bring the fortunes to the family who put it.