Archives for posts with tag: prosperity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

W60xD40xH90mm, China

A little clay figurine dressed in red and holding a fish.

This toy embedded many of the wishes that the parents would want for their child.
On his vest is the word “shou” 壽 – longevity,
while the fish 魚 “yu” shares the same sound as 余 “yu” – plentiful.

In the old days, when life is harsh, staying alive and having enough to survive on is a hope for the future.  These words of blessing are often found in wood block prints, pottery, embroidery, wood carvings and even the name for dishes.

golden wood carving

L230xD30xH90mm, China

This golden wood carving makes a perfect birthday present.

The four figurines are full of blessing, Fu Lu Shou and Ma Gu.  They are all Taoist saints, representing blessings and happiness.

Fu (far right) – the planet Jupiter which was also attributed to Yang Cheng of the West Han period.  Yang, after being nominated to be the Daozhou official, abolished the practice of present contribution to the Emperor, relieving the stain for the people and therefore seen as a blessing.

Lu (left of Fu) – god of prosperity.  The stars Ursa Majoris humanized as Zhang Xian of the Shu dynasty, a brave general who was respected by the Emperor and worshiped by the people.

Shou (left of Lu) – god of longevity.  The stars of Canopus, translated as Peng Zu who is believed to have livd to an age of 767!!

Lady (at the far left) is Ma Gu, goddess of longevity – with the appearance still being in her teens, she has witnessed 3 times the sea turned into fields (judging its not from any dramatic climatic changes, she has been around for a long long time).  Her immortality and her yearly birthday tribute to the Queen Mother of the West is seen as a blessing and so Ma Gu is a popular subject for pritns, figurines, embroidery and alike.

Fu Lu SauW180xD80xH360mm, China
(in the order from left to right – Fu Sau, Lu)

In my generation and those before, the blessing trio figurine could be seen at the focal point of all homes.

The three are a combination of all good blessings,
Fu – good fortune,
Lu – prosperity,
Sau – longevity

The three were originally concept of the astrology, stars.
Fu Star – the planet Jupiter
Lu Star – Ursa Majoris
Shu Star – Canopus

In the Ming dynasty the Taoist, attributed the Stars to persons or saintly figures and the three are grouped together to symbolize the idea of a good life ever since.  Perhaps life has become less harsh or simply the flats are much smaller, Fu Lu Sau figurines are seldom seen in homes.