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Japanese Buddha Benten Gilt-Wood Zushi Shrine Statue

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All Items: Antiques:Regional Art:Asian:Japanese:Devotional Objects: Pre 1700: item # 788700

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Sold out at $600. Thank you.

Japanese Buddha Benten Gilt-Wood Zushi Shrine Statue

An early Edo (1600s) mystical gilt-wood image of Benten enshrined in a Lacquered Zushi. Advanced Patination due to age, some arms are missing but generally a very good preserved figure as it is.

A river goddess in Indian mythology. Her Sanskrit name "Sarasvatī" means "flowing water" and thus she represents everything that flows (e.g., music, words, speech, eloquence). Later adopted into the Buddhist and then Shinto pantheons of Japan. One of Japan's Seven Lucky Gods. Comes in two main forms: (1) with two arms holding a lute; (2) with eight arms holding martial implements to indicate her role as protector against disaster; this version is called Happi Benzaiten. In less-common forms she is depicted naked or as Uga Benzaiten (esoteric form). Her messenger is the snake, so she is sometimes shown mounted on a serpent or dragon.

Benzaiten is the sole female among the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. Her temples and shrines are almost invariably in the neighborhood of water -- the sea, a river, or a pond. She is the patroness of music, the fine arts (dancing, acting, visual), and good fortune in general, and is often shown carrying a biwa (Japanese mandolin) or playing a lute. She is often represented as a beautiful woman with the power to assume the form of a serpent, or shown seated on a dragon or serpent and playing a lute. In fact, the snake is almost always associated with Benzaiten, who was originally a Hindu deity (Sarasvati) who represented learning, music and poetry. Such artistic learning and wisdom often bring prosperity, hence her inclusion in the Japanese group of seven luckies. She also has a jewel that grants desires. Some say it is a jade, while others say it is a pearl.

In India, her birthplace, she is called Sarasvatī (literally "flowing water"), which is the name of an actual Indian river. She is thus a Goddess of the River. She arrived in Japan soon after the introduction of Buddhism to this island in the 6th century, and her worship was based largely on her attributes as described in the Sutra of Golden Light (金光明最勝王経) as translated into Chinese by Yijing 義浄 in the 7th century. This sutra is regarded primarily as a scripture for state protection, wherein Benzaiten is described with eight arms that hold protective martial instruments including the bow, arrow, sword, ax, spear, long pestle, iron wheel, and silk rope.

Measurements: Height x Width x Depth = 19 x 11.5 x 9.5 cm

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