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.

MFA_Daikoku_kanamono_7b   www.mfa.org

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.

MFA_19th_c._netsuke_rats_carrying_Daikoku_bag_7b   www.mfa.org

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.

MMA_Gakutei_Daikoku_mallet_rat_7b   www.metmuseum.org

MFA_Kikugoro_Soga_no_Goro_Daikoku_mallet_7b   www.mfa.org

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.)

Quintano_Ice_bucket_challenge_commons_7b

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