Mint of Poland celebrates the Seven Gods of Fortune from Japanese mythology with a high-relief silver coin
It’s been a while since we took a look at one of the Mint of Poland’s two-ounce silver mythology coins that it’s issued itself, rather than in partnership with a third party. Their own issues tend to be a little less ambitious, with basic obverse designs, but some of them still sport some superb designs nevertheless. Their latest really caught or eye, and we just had to share.
It features what are known as the Seven Lucky Gods, also known as the Gods of Fortune. A mix of religions and nationalities, even though it’s a predominantly Japanese invention, they all represent good fortune in their own fields. Said to sail around on a boat, that’s exactly how the mint has depicted them. What a brilliant design! You can’t help but be cheered up by the mellowed-out figures, and frankly, whatever they’re smoking, can we have some please?..
It’s a great piece of numismatic art, and the copper plating looks terrific alongside the antiqued silver. Sadly, the obverse is a basic one again, but we don’t consider that a big mark against the coin. It comes boxed with a COA, and has a mintage of 500 pieces. A nice surprise, it’s hard not to like this one.
THE SEVEN LUCKY GODS
In Japanese mythology, the Seven Lucky gods or Seven gods of Fortune (七福神, shichifukujin in Japanese) are believed to grant good luck and are often represented in netsuke and in artworks. One of the seven (Jurōjin) is said to be based on a historical figure. They all began as remote and impersonal gods, but gradually became much closer canonical figures for certain professions and Japanese arts. During the course of their history, the mutual influence between gods has created confusion about which of them was the patron of certain professions. The worship of this group of gods is also due to the importance of the number seven in Japan, supposedly a signifier of good luck.
It is known that these deities mostly have their origins as ancient gods of fortune from religions popular in Japan: from Mahayana Buddhism (Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Daikokuten) which came to Japan from China but originated in India, and from Chinese Taoism (Fukurokuju, Hotei, Jurojin); except for one (Ebisu) who has a native Japanese ancestry.
These gods have been recognized as such for over a thousand years. In the beginning, they were worshipped by merchants, as the first two (Ebisu and Daikokuten) were gods of business and trade. Subsequently, the other classes of Japanese society looked for other gods that could correspond with their professions: Benzaiten as the patron of the arts, Fukurokuju as the patron of the sciences, and so on.
The Seven Gods of Fortune started being mentioned as a collective in the year 1420 in Fushimi, in order to imitate the processions of the daimyōs, the feudal lords of pre-modern Japan. It is said that the Buddhist priest Tenkai selected these gods after speaking with the shōgun he served, Iemitsu Tokugawa, at the order of seeking whoever possessed the perfect virtues: longevity, fortune, popularity, sincerity, kindness, dignity, and magnanimity. Shortly after a famous artist of the time, Kano Yasunobu, was ordained to portray these gods for the first time ever. (Source: Wikipedia)
|DENOMINATION||2,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon)|
|COMPOSITION||62.2 g of 0.999 silver|
|MODIFICATIONS||High-relief, Copper plating|
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