Vegder's Blog

October 30, 2014

The 7 Propitious Gods: The Big Black One – Daikoku 大黒

Please note that I am just beginning this post. I will be adding section headings and images before I put in the text. Therefore you should come back often to see what I have added and why.

Some say that Daikoku is the most loved of the 7 Propitious Gods. He is jovial, plays with children, bestows gifts and good fortune, fathered a child, loves the ladies – especially those of the night – and is an all-around good guy. But that is only the common perception. He has darker past, a more complex history and personality. In ancient India he was known as Mahākāla. He became one of the most wrathful gods of tantric Buddhism.

Mahākāla – Below is Mahākāla under the aspect of Sadbhudja.

Guimet_Mahakala_7   Musée Guimet

Guimet_Mahakala_mask_7   Musée Guimet

By contrast -

Below is a kanamono by Unno Moritoshi (1834-96) of Daikoku dragging his bag of goodies. Hitching a ride are two rats which are often seen with this god. Other common, godly attributes are Daikoku’s gift-dispensing mallet – shown here – and bales of rice – not shown here.  This example comes from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and dates from the 19th century.


Daikoku’s jovial persona -

MAK_Eisen_Daikoku_7b   Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna

Daikoku’s rats - Sometimes they are just mice, but that doesn’t matter.


Daikoku’s mallet: Uchide no kozuchi – 打ち出の小槌 – Below is a surimono by Gakutei from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This piece probably dates from 1828 because that was the year of the rat.



Courtesans who worked their magic for the Big Black One House of Prostitution: Daikokuya 大黒屋 -

NDL_Courtesan_from_Daikokuya_7b   National Diet Library   NDL_Courtesan_Daikokuya_8d

Now for something refreshing – Below is a photograph of Anthony Quintano of Hillsborough, New Jersey, taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. I found it posted at commons.wikimedia. (I will explain later.)


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