Women Compared with the Seven Gods of Good Fortune

(Shichifukujin, 七婦久人)

Publisher: Enshû-ya Hikobei

c. 1847-1848

 

This series illustrates beautiful women whose postures reflect those of the seven gods of good fortune (shichifukujin) who are seen in the inset hanging scroll (kakemono).  The title of the series appears on the painting storage box.  This series is listed as number 163 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.

 

God of good fortune: Benten, the only female god of good fortune, who personifies love, music, knowledge, art and beauty

Woman: Woman seated at a hibachi boiling water to prepare soup with a cup and a spoon on the small tables next to her and a long-stemmed pipe on the floor

Schaap: 13.1

 

God of good fortune: Bishamonten (毘沙門天), the god of warriors holding a pagoda

Woman: Woman standing next to a shôgi (Japanese chess) board holding a game piece in her right hand.  Her kimono is decorated in the style of an Ôtsu-e (folk painting from Ôtsu) with a falconer and attributes of the god Bishamonten

Schaap: 13.2

 

The woodblocks for the above print were recut after the 1855 Edo earthquake to produce this print titled Temporary Quarters of the Yoshiwara (Yoshiwara karitaku basho fu, 吉原仮宅場所附).

 

God of good fortune: Daikokuten, the god of wealth and commerce

Woman: A geisha, ready to go out on her high wooden sandals (geta) holding an umbrella in her left hand and a towel in her right

Schaap: 13.3

 

God of good fortune: Ebisu, the god of fisherman and merchants, with a fishing rod

Woman: A kneeling woman in a gorgeously decorated looking over her left shoulder while holding the bow of a samisen lying at her feet

Schaap: 13.4

 

God of good fortune: Fukurokuju, the god of happiness and longevity, with a crane

Woman: A standing woman holding the hat of a sanbasô dancer and looking at a costume decorated with a crane

Schaap: 13.5

 

God of good fortune: Hotei, the fat and happy god of abundance and good health

Woman: A woman kneeling next to a table and dishes with various fish, a cup and a pair of scissors

Schaap: 13.6

 

God of good fortune: Jurojin (Gama), the god of longevity, with a deer

Woman: A seated woman unrolling a long letter while looking at her cat playing with its cover.  There is a box with writing materials is next to her, and her coat (haori) is decorated with deer, which are associated with the god Jurojin

Schaap: 13.7

Schaap” refers to listing in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi by Robert Schaap (Hotei Publishing, Leiden, 1998).

 

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