Thursday, January 20, 2005

Daikoku Shaving Fukurokuju

Daikoku Shaving FukurokujuFrom the Japan Times Online, an article about an exhibit displaying paintings from the Edo Period (1615-1868).

The reason the article caught my eye is that one of the paintings depicts one god shaving another god's head.
One such painting, "Daikoku Shaving Fukurokuju," demonstrates the happy and humorous natures of these two members of the group of Seven Deities. Daikoku is the deity of prosperity, while Fukurokuju is the deity of longevity. Daikoku is almost naked, clothed only in a loincloth and wearing a red hood. Holding a razor in his right hand, he must climb a ladder in order to shave Fukurokuju's head, since it is so elongated. The painting illustrates the human qualities of deities, who seem less than godlike in such poses, showing that the immortals have as many foibles as us ordinary folk.
Now that I've seen the picture, I feel fortunate that I don't require a ladder to shave my own head.

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