Wood sculpture of Fukusuke
Fukusuke (福助) is a Japanese traditional character which is said to increase the fortune and bring good luck. Formally dressed in a Kamishimo ceremonial dress with a big head and Fukumimi (plump ears, said to bring good fortune). There are several legends about the origin of Fukusuke. One of them pretends he was a dwarf of about 60cm with a huge head. He was enrolled in shows and his show name was derived from "fugusuke" which designate a physical handicap. "Fuku" means happiness, so his show was very successfully. One day a samurai bought him so he could be free and he became his friend. Afterward, the family of that samurai became very successful. Fukusuke died in 1802 after been married and starting a business selling small dolls resembling himself, with a big head and a small body. During the 1830', a very prosperous period in Edo, that doll was very much in fashion.
That statue of Fukusuke is made of wood, possibly boxwood. It is signed “Yoyo” and dated using the cycle of sixty terms known as the Stems-and-Branches, so it could be from the 4th year of Ansei era (1857) or the 7th year of Taisho era (1917).
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