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Hotei Terracotta Incense Burner
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This is a remarkable old Japanese terracotta figure of Hotei, one of the Seven Shinto Gods in Japan. He is the god of contentment and happiness and is depicted as cheerful and smiling. Hotei is the only member of the shichifukujin based on a mortal; an eccentric Chinese Zen monk called Pu-tai and thought to be the reincarnation of Maitreya (miroku Bosatsu), a Buddhist saint. He carries a large, never empty bag - usually full of rice - and he holds a "wish giving" fan. Tradition is that rubbing his large belly (another indication of abundance) will bring good luck and prosperity. Hotei has become recognizable and is a popular figure in the West but he is really much more complex and revered in the East. He is also the god of laughter and the happiness you can achieve by being satisfied with what you have. He is the god of joy and satisfaction in trade, hence a Hotei statue is often positioned at the entrance of stores.

This figure of Hotei has been associated with the burning of incense and has been handled carefully. The pottery has layers of smoke and incense residue on the inside and shows the effects of heat and smoke on the outside. If it was originally decorated, it has worn away now. There is a small chip on the bottom edge, but no cracks or restoration. This is a wonderful terra-cotta figure with a great expression and very good detailing but with no maker's marks visible. He stands 13 inches high, 12 3/4 inches wide and 6 1/2 inches deep ...... $1650.00