Seven Gods of Good Fortune and Chinese Children

Artist: Kano Chikanobu (Japanese, 1660–1728)

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)

Date: 17th–18th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: One of a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gilt on paper; Reverse side: ink, color, and gold on paper

Dimensions: 69 1/4 x 153 in. (175.9 x 388.6 cm)

Classification: Screens

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.498


In this screen, three of the seven gods of good fortune (Daikoku, Ebisu, and Hotei) and a group of Chinese children serve as visual references to wealth, prosperity, and abundance. Some of the children pull a flower cart (hana-guruma) laden with a bamboo basket overflowing with peonies (emblematic of riches and honor) and other flowers associated with good fortune. The flower cart, another popular subject for screen painting during the Edo period, is nearly identical in design to the bamboo work by Kato Tōshōsai on view nearby. The figures display the artist’s awareness of Chinese traditions; in China the theme of One Hundred Boys was a popular and auspicious subject for painting, and in Japan the motif of karako (Tang-Dynasty Children) symbolized longevity and health for offspring. The elegant fusion of ink and colors and the tight spatial composition mark an accomplished Kano-studio product.