With origins in the Taoist pantheon, Jurojin originated as a Chinese God of Intellect and Wisdom or the Immortal of the Northern Song. But over a period of time, was adopted within the Japanese Shinto Seven Lucky Gods as the God of Longevity. He is generally depicted in sculptures as an old man with a long white beard, holding a staff that has a scroll or a book attached. The scroll or book is considered to be a record of the life spans of living beings. Jurojin has a messenger with him always in the form of a deer, stag, tortoise or a crane which are also symbols of longevity.
Another attribute that Jurojin is known to bless is the Good luck as he is the personification of the Southern Pole Star. Usually confused with Fukurokuju due to many similarities, Jurojin is often recognized with his trademark glass of sake in one hand that Fukurokuju lacks.
In Japan, Jurojin is also known as Roujinseishi. Most of the statues of Jurojin represent him as a small old man with a wide forehead but smaller than Fukurokuju’s head. He is depicted wearing robes, holding a knobby staff that has the book attached while in the other hand he holds a glass of Sake. Jurojin usually has the tortoise or the black deer accompanying him. Within the Seven Lucky Gods, Jurojin is a popular deity who is much sought after even today. Considered to bring good luck and long life, people like to keep statues of either all the Seven Gods or even individual statues at home or at their workplace.
While tracing the origin of Jurojin or the Taoist God Shoulaoren, as he was originally known in China, legends attribute him to be based on an 11th century monk, who was said to be over 6 feet in height and had an elongated head. He is usually depicted in paintings as an old man with a beard carrying a fan and a scroll. Known to be over 1, 500 years old, another symbol of longevity that is often associated with him is the plum tree, under which he is shown standing.
Numerous figurines and statues of Jurojin are available crafted by hand in a variety of materials but the most popular ones are in wood and ivory. Considered to bring good luck and fortune, Jurojin can be invoked individually or within the Seven Lucky Gods.
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