DIA 40mm, China

This is one of the gift for the Chinese baby’s shower (normally on the 100th day of its birth), a silver bracelet with the pendent of Budai and a peanut.  You must be wondering why these 2 items would be selected for a child as an ornament.  Budai, the laughing buddha, is an incarnation of Maitreya, however, this image of Maitreya is only found in China but not in India.  It is believed that the image of the laughing monk with a belly and a bag originated from a monk in the Five Dynasties, an incarnation of Maitreya and known for his joyfulness, forgiveness and kindness, for this he is always depicted to be followed with a group of children.  For a child to be wearing Budai would be giving her the blessing and a hope that his character would rub in a little.  As for the peanut, it is known as the fruit of longevity, bringing health and fertility.  In old rural China when medical and hygiene was poor, this blessing to the child is a wish of parents for some extra help for his well being.

This item selected by Furze for the Something Old Something New exhibition and is available at both Mountain Folkcraft and Soil.