A Japanese Bizen pottery figure (okimono) of Fukurokujo from the late Meiji to early Show period, circa 1910-1935. It measures 3 3/4" hihg by 2" wide by 1 1/4" deep and is in excellent condition.
In Japan, Fukurokuju (from Japanese fuku, "happiness"; roku, "wealth"; and ju, "longevity") is one of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japanese mythology. It has been theorized that he is a Japanese assimilation of the Chinese Three Star Gods (either Fuk, Luk and Sau or Fu, Lu and Shou) embodied in one god. Most related in appearance to the Chinese star god Sau or Shou, he is the God of wisdom and longevity. According to some, before attaining divinity, he was a Chinese hermit of the Sung Dynasty and a reincarnation of the Taoist god Hsuan-Wu. It is said that during his human incarnation, he was a sennin; a philosopher who could exist without eating food. He is sometimes confused with Juroujin, who by some accounts is Fukurokuju's grandson and by other accounts inhabits the same body as Fukurokuju.
Usually portrayed as being bald, with long whiskers, he is said to be an incarnation of the Southern Polestar. In many depictions such as this Bizen okimono, Fukurokuju has an abnormally high forehead. The sacred book tied to his staff either contains the lifespan of every person on earth or a magical scripture. He is the only member of the Seven Lucky Gods credited with the ability to revive the dead.