Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1725?–1770)
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), c. 1769
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1959

Some of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune (shichifukujin) represent multiple, interrelated virtues. While Hotei is most commonly associated with abundant harvests, he is also the patron saint of children and is often shown romping in delight with toddlers. In Harunobu’s image, however, the woman standing to the right can be identified as a prostitute by the way she has tied her obi sash, leading us to wonder why Hotei is frequenting this brothel and who the parents of this infant are.

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