Japan, 16th century, Muromachi period (1338-1573)
Finely carved and painted in polychrome pigments, seated in royal ease (lalitasana) on a wood pedestal surrounded by gnarled roots above a two-tiered base with gilt chased-metal fittings and a central plaque with a gilt-wood rinpo (dharma wheel) flanked by blossoms. The goddess clothed in elaborate red and black robes with gilt hems decorated with foliate designs and floral medallions, adorned with two gilt ho-o (phoenixes) birds and floral medallions on each sleeve. Her face bearing a serene expression with heavy-lidded eyes, and sinuous brows, her hair tied in a high topknot with a tiara.
HEIGHT 46.7 cm (figure), 76.7 cm (incl. stand)
Condition: Good condition with expected wear and age cracks, some flaking, losses, and repairs. Generally presenting very well.
Provenance: From a Dutch private collection.
Associated with harvest, fertility, and fortune, Kichijoten is one of the female deities derived from religious syncretism of Laksmi, the wife of Vishnu, worshipped as the goddess of fortune in the Indian Hindu pantheon. She is sometimes depicted together with Bishamonten, to whom she is wife or sister. She is often depicted in Chinese robes from the Tang dynasty.
Compare an earlier wood polychrome figure of Kichijoten, dated to the 14th century, in the Nara National Museum, accession number 1209-0. Compare a much earlier standing wood figure of with polychrome pigments in the Jyoruri Temple in Kyoto, dated to the Kamakura period.
Compare a later polychrome wood figure of Kichijoten, dated to the 18th century, at Christie’s, Japanese & Korean Art, 24 March 2010, New York, lot 595 (sold for USD 10,000).
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