A large chirimen-silk kaga fukusa featuring a large "Hotei" (one of the seven lucky gods) motif. Yuzen-dyeing with embroidery highlights. Very good condition. 35" x 37". Hotei is the Buddhist god associated with happiness and contentment; the virtue of this lucky god was magnanimity. Hotei carries a large cloth bag over his back, one that never empties, for he uses it to feed the poor and needy. It is quite common to have Hotei and his sack accompanied by karako: in this depiction, three karako surround Hotei and his sack, romping and squealing in delight around his rotund shape. The Japanese term karako generically refers to small Chinese children as they are portrayed in Japanese art. These children, depicted without reference to a specific sex but usually appearing to be boys, wear sets of Chinese traditional clothes and have bare heads except for two small tufts of hair. Karako can represent the wish to have a male successor who will gain high social status, and also is a benevolent symbol which brings luck, happiness and prosperity.