Gekko Ogata, Seven Lucky Gods, Hanging Scroll


Original Japanese hanging scroll.

Artist: Gekko Ogata (1859 – 1920)
Title: Shichifukujin (The Seven Lucky Gods). Kakejiku (vertical hanging scroll), ink and colours on silk in silk mounts.
Date: early 20th century
Condition: Overall - Light soiling. Image - Light soiling.
Size: Overall - 178 x 48 cm. Image - 97 x 35 cm

Shichifukujin (The Seven Gods of Good Fortune) are frequently shown riding in a treasure boat (Takarabune), which is an auspicious symbol, especially found during New Year celebrations. The seven deities have independent origins in Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto, and have been an important part of Japanese culture since the 15th century (Muromachi era). Although most of these characters have a courtly or scholarly appearance, they were popularised by farmers, merchants and artisans. Consequently, their treasures are practical things like rice, fish and cash, rather than gold or jewels.

Gekko Ogata (1859 - 1920)

Within the genre of Japanese art, Gekko Ogata worked as a decorator of lacquer wares and pottery, as well as an illustrator for books and newspapers. These experiences made him a versatile artist and helped him develop his own style when he turned to printmaking. It is often pointed out that the uniqueness of his style might have caused some problems for carvers and printers, as his designs often resembled that of water colour and oil paintings, not the traditional ukiyo-e-style prints in which lines were clear and areas of the same colour were separated. In kacho-e (images of flowers and birds), one of his major subjects, he mastered the art of depicting the details of birds' feathers.

After the Sino-Japanese war erupted, Gekko took up another subject and started creating war prints. As a war correspondent for a newspaper company, he accompanied the troops to the battlefields, made sketches of the battle scenes and turned them into prints back at home in Japan. Gekko favoured a variety of subjects alongside reporting on the war: flowers and birds, landscapes, beauties, animals and family scenes. His print series, 'Beauties at Famous Places', was published in the early 20th century. He was awarded a gold medal at 1904's St Louis World's Fair for selections from his landscape series, 'Gekko's One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji'.

More Information
Print FormatKakemono-e (Scroll)
ArtistGekko Ogata (1859 - 1920)
SubjectMale & Female, Ghosts & Religion
SizeOverall - 178 x 48 cm. Image - 97 x 35 cm