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Wooden figure of Kichijōten


Height: 111.000 cm

Brooke Sewell Bequest

Asia JA 1965.4-15.1

Rooms 92-94: Japan

    Wooden figure of Kichijōten

    From Japan
    Heian period, 11th century AD

    'The Female Deity of Fortune'

    Kichijōten is one of the female deities derived from Laksmi, the wife of Vishnu, worshipped as the goddess of fortune in the Hindu pantheon. She is associated with harvest, fertility and fortune. In Japan she is often shown as a wife or sister of Bishamonten (guardian of the North direction), and is one of the seven Lucky Gods especially associated with New Year. She is usually shown as a tall and graceful woman, as here, dressed in the robes of a lady of the Chinese Tang dynasty (618-906). The features also show similarities to sculptures of the Tang dynasty.

    Kichijoten makes the gesture of segan'in, signifying the granting of desires, with one hand, while in the other she holds the hōjū, 'the Treasure Gem', representing overcoming calamities and the prize of Buddhist wisdom.

    The statue is carved from a single block of wood in ichiboku zukuri style, and any original pigment has completely vanished.

    L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

    W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)