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Benzaiten
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Ebisu | Bishamonten | Daikoku | Benzaiten | Fukurokuju | JUROJIN | Hotei

The only Goddess amongst the set of Seven Lucky Gods, Benzaiten is the Goddess of Beauty, Art, Music and Knowledge. She is also invoked as the River Goddess, patron of children and the Protector of the Nation.

Usually portrayed as a beautiful woman shown seated on a Dragon or a serpent and plays a lute; or is shown with eight arms holding implements such as the sword, bow, arrow, spear, axe, iron wheel, long pestle and silk rope and is called the Happi Benzaiten. She is sometimes depicted naked in her esoteric form and then known as Uga Benzaiten. Most of the shrines and temples dedicated to Benzaiten are close to the sea, rivers and lakes as her messenger, the snake lives there.

With humble beginnings, Benzaiten quickly came to be popular in 1392-1568 which was during the Muromachi era and by the Edo period (1600-1886 AD), she was a favored deity amongst the business and educated class leading prosperity led to her inclusion amongst the Seven Lucky Gods. She is also known to grant wishes through a jewel that she carries sometimes called pearl and others say it’s a jade.

Originating from the Hindu Goddess of Learning, poetry and music, Goddess Saraswati, Benzaiten was adopted into the Japanese culture with the advent of Buddhism in the 6th century. The Hindu Goddess Saraswati was based on the mythical river Saraswati which came to be symbolic with learning and knowledge. She is worshipped according to the sutras of the Golden Light, which is basically for protecting the nation. There is mention of her in the Lotus Sutras and closely adapted from Hindu religion.

As the River Goddess, she came to be associated with everything that flows- music, eloquence, speech and knowledge. The deity is enshrined on the Island of Enoshima located within the Sagami Bay, just about 50 km from Tokyo. In the history of Enoshima shrines, Enoshima Engi the central figurine is a Dragon and Benzaiten. It was written in by a Japanese Buddhist monk, Kokie.

Beautiful, powerful and has the divine powers to bestow prosperity with her celestial jewels, Benzaiten has been worshipped individually for centuries in Japan and later became a part of the much sought after Seven Lucky Gods to complete the balance of divinity. Today numerous statues and idols are carved in a number of materials as both a lucky charm and auspicious omen at home and at work to be invoked to be blessed with knowledge and prosperity.

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You can browse much more carved Mammoth Ivory Tusk artifacts at our Mammoth ivoryFigurines collection.


 


IvoryAndArt Resources

Happy New Year - Year of the Horse 2014!

The Horse (seventh sign of the Chinese Zodiac) in Chinese Feng Shui symbolizes perseverance, strength, loyalty, victory, power, independent, strong spirited, speed and success. It is believed that placing the Horse figurines in your home or workplace will strengthen and enhance all the good traits and characteristics it represents in family members born in the year of Horse. It is no surprise that you can almost always find paintings and sculptures of horses in Chinese homes and businesses.
In Feng Shui, the horses are usually classified into Tribute Horse and Victory Horse.

The tribute horse brings fame, recognition and triumph over competitors, ensuring your talents and hard work are acknowledged and rewarded.
Victory horses are shown galloping, running upwards signifying upward mobility and promotion, steady and speedy climb to fame and success in career and life.
Read all article about YEAR Of The Horse

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Mammoth ivory, Elephant Ivory - real or fake?

There is always a fear that the ivory sculpture that you bought might turn out to be a fake, because as a layman you may not be able to differentiate between a clever replicas and real ivory. However, with experience in this field and handling nearly all types of ivory, it becomes easy to differentiate just by seeing it.

Even though pure ivory can be of various quality and types, the fake ivory is made from resins. The powder that is left after sawing/carving ivory or remnants from bone sculptures are not wasted but all added to resins, put into molds.

Mammoth ivory tusk

The sculptures are then cleaned and then dipped in dark hued stains that give them the brownish tinge. There is always a difference in weight between a resin ivory and real ivory as real ivory is very heavy...Read all article about your Mammoth Ivory fake or real?

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