Japan, I half 19th century - inv. 5719
Netsuke depicting Jurōjin on the back of a lying down deer (shika, 鹿); with his right hand the deity pets the animal’s snout, whose eyes are inlays in horn. The bigger hole of the himotoshi is placed next to the animal's right hip; the smaller one, is on its side.
Jurōjin is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神, Shichifukujin). He is the God of Longevity and is usually depicted with a hat on his head and dressed with the traditional garments of Chinese officers. His typical attributes are a stiff fan (uchiwa, 団扇) and a roll mounted on a pole. Like in this piece from the Lanfranchi collection, he is often accompanied by a deer that it is said to be 1500 years old. The iconography of this netsuke is ambiguous: the big skull usually identifies Fukurokuju that is more often accompanied by a crane (tsuru, 鶴) or a thousand year old turtle(minogame, 蓑亀), even though there are some other depictions of him with a deer.