Japan, I half 19th century - inv. 5719

Not signed, Japan

Jurōjin and Deer
I half 19th century
4,8x4,5x2,5 cm
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti
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 hole of the himotoshi of bigger dimension is placed next to the animals 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.