Benzaiten

DATE:
1704
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Polychrome wood, metal, glass, and crystal
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
25 3/8 × 14 3/4 × 11 1/2 in. (64.45 × 37.47 × 29.21 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
Arts of Asia - Japan, Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
2017.8.A-F

General Description

Benzaiten, or Benten, as the goddess is also called in Japan, is a Japanese Buddhist version of Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of music, poetry, learning, and the performing arts. Sarasvati was first adopted in China and then passed to Japan in the 7th-8th century. As is suited to a militaristic culture, Benten was originally considered to be a protectress of the samurai. She was also thought to be one of the seven lucky gods, who also brought prosperity and good fortune to their followers. In this, she resembled Daitoku, a god of prosperity represented by another sculpture in the DMA's collection [2016.59.2.A-B]. In Japanese myth, she is the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea, and as such is exhibited alongside the Dragon King of the Sea in the Museum's Young Collection [1993.86.11.FA].

Excerpt from

  • Label text, Anne Bromberg, 2017.

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