Takarabune

In Japanese folklore there are seven lucky gods who travel in the magical ship 'Takarabune' each new year carrying their treasures. They sail from heaven and visit humans to distribute gifts of good luck and happiness to those who have done their best to live good lives.

Utagawa Hiroshige

During the Edo period, it was customary to place a woodblock print of the treasure ship Takarabune under your pillow on the night of the 2nd of January. If you had a lucky dream it was a sign of good fortune to come, but if you had a bad dream, the picture was tossed into a river to keep any misfortune away.
 
 

The seven lucky gods are Jurojin, Bishamonten, Ebisu, Fukurokuju, Daikokuten, Hotei and the goddess Benzaiten. The treasures they bring on takarabune are a hat of invisibility, rolls of brocade, an inexhaustible purse, the keys to the treasure house of the gods, the scrolls and books of wisdom and life, the magic mallet, the lucky raincoat, a robe of fairy feathers and a bag of fortune.
 
'Treasure Ships with the 7 Lucky Gods' - Isoda Korysai, ca. 1785

'Performers of Various Arts Imitating the 7 Gods of Good Fortune in the Treasure Boat' - Kitagawa Tsukimaro

Katsukawa Shunsho, 1700s

'A mitate of the Takarabune with courtesans representing the 7 Lucky Gods in the port of Nagasaki' Utagawa Toyokuni, 1805


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