Bronze Meiji period sculpture of Jurōjin, God of Longevity, with deer and staff
Japanese, Late 19th Century
Figure: height 40cm, width 19cm, depth 11cm
Stag: height 19cm, width 20cm depth 10cm
Complete with his characteristic deer and staff, this fine sculptural group in bronze, from Meiji era Japan, depicts the Taoist god of longevity, Jurōjin, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. Originally a figure from Chinese Taoist religion, Jurōjin is a popular figure in Japanese art and culture, commonly shown as an old man with his deer – a symbol of longevity, as it is viewed as a wise animal that only gets wiser with age – and his knobbly staff, which bears the life span of all life-forms and a list of all their good and wicked deeds.
The group is formed of separate elements: Jurōjin himself, his deer, and his staff. It is signed on the back for Houzan / 60th birthday celebration / Osaka wheel production company, from all employees, indicating it was once bestowed as a important symbolic gift, with the potential, of course, to be so again.