Happy Buddha, with a bulging sack on his back, his ponderous belly overhanging
the tied sash, abundance enrobed in cloud patterned and star studded robe, carrying
a mirror. The character of Hotei is descended from the Indian Maitreya interpreted
through the Chinese personage of Mi-Lo-Fu, and the figure has gradually lost its
religious significance and become merely the God of Luck. However, the appearance
here of the mirror, the symbol of pristine wisdom, is a reminder of the spiritual
roots of the Laughing Buddha. That being said, this Hotei is an emblem of childlike
mischievous humor. The eyes are wrinkled with merriment, the mouth open in laughter.
This impish god even displays the stubble of partial baldness, chest hairs and
a five o’clock shadow stippled over his ivory chin.
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