Meiji Japanese Bronze Vase - Treasure Sack of Hotei or Daikokuten
Our large Japanese patinated bronze vase appears in the form of Hotei's sack (or possibly the sack of Daikokuten) features wonderful designs in relief including censors, musical instruments, and other treasures and plus inscriptions of wishes from the God of Happiness, tied at the neck with tassled cords. Approximately 16 by 16 by 16 inches. The largest and finest example of its kind we have seen in our 20 years in business. Our client has this item for sale in their New York gallery. In Japanese mythology, Hotei is one of the seven lucky gods. He is the god of fortune, guardian of children, patron of diviners and barmen and god of popularity. He is depicted as a fat, smiling, bald man with a curly moustache. He always appears half-naked, as his clothes are not wide enough to cover his enormous belly.
He blessed the Chinese, and they nicknamed him "Cho-Tei-Shi" or "Ho-Tei-Shi", which means'bag of old clothes'. He carries a sack on his shoulders which is loaded with fortunes for those who believe in his virtues.
Hotei's traits and virtue are contentment, magnanimous and happiness. Alternatively, it has been said this piece may depict the sack of valuables of Daikokuten, god of commerce and prosperity. The sack here depicts a number of signs of wealth, such as ryo coins, fans, scrolls and the Uchide no Kozuchi or magic mallet commonly held by Daikokuten and said to bring wishes.