Satsuma objects are sometimes lavished with the images of gods,deities and holy men, the so called immortals, sitting together in a smaller or largere group, sometimes on their own. They all can be traced back to the complex mixture of religions and
beliefs that has merged in Japan, with influences coming from Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism.
Shinto is said to be the oldest religion in Japan, probably originated from the same time as Christianity. The term shintô can be translated
as “the way of the gods”, and indeed there are many shinto gods, the Kami, which must not be seen as a ‘personnel gods’ as we know it in the west, but as spirits that can live anywhere. It is the spirit that is believed to be present
in nature, in mountains and oceans, as well as in natural phenomena as storm and thunder.
In the 6th century, Buddhism was imported from Korea, with a different view on life and nature and with different Gods to worhip. After a period of resistance
eventually several of these Buddhas (butsu or nyorai in Japanese), and bodhisattvas (bosatsu) were adapted, interwoven with the shinto gods and placed in a religious concept what only can be found in Japan. This mixture of Shinto gods an budhistic holymen
grained deeply into Japanes cultural and spritual life, what was also reflected in Japanes art. They were depicted frequently on blockwoodprints, netsukes and scrollpaintings and it’s only normal that they can also be found on satsuma wares.
section tries to give a brief survey of the religious figures and mythical creatures what can be found on Satsuma-ware.
- Gods, Rakan and Immortals
- The seven Gods of Fortune
- Some more Gods and Demons