ANTIQUE JAPANESE IVORY MODEL OF THE BOAT OF GOOD FORTUNE
Date: Circa 1880
Stock number: 38IS/416
Height: 12¼ inches / 31 cm
Width: 27½ inches / 70 cm
A dramatic and impressive large scale ivory model of a Takarabune, referred to as the ‘Treasure Ship’ or ‘Boat of Good Fortune’, the hull modelled in sectional ivory with a phoenix figurehead, the Seven Lucky Gods on board enjoying the antics of a young child playing. The ivory with excellent hand carved detail, heightened with areas of staining and raised on a fitted wooden base representing waves beneath the boat.
The Seven Gods of Fortune (Shichi Fukujin), commonly referred to in English as the Seven Lucky Gods, are the seven gods of good fortune in Oriental mythology and folklore. They are often the subject of intricate carvings and other representations.
The seven gods are often depicted on their ship, the Takarabune or “Treasure Ship.” The tradition holds that the seven gods will arrive in town on the New Year and distribute fantastic gifts to worthy people. Children often receive red envelopes emblazoned with the Takarabune which contain gifts of money around the New Year. The Takarabune and its passengers are often depicted in art in varied locations, from the walls of museums to cuddly caricatures.