The auspicious spirit Otafuku, reminiscent of the ancient goddess Amenouzume – who entertained the gods of creation and coaxed the sun goddess from a cave to bring light to the world – is an emblem of happiness and prosperity. Around lunar New Year (now early February), called Setsubun, Japanese drove demons from their homes by flinging beans (that cause extreme pain to demons) while yelling, “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi” (out with the bad, in with the good). The name Otafuku means “great prosperity,” and in paintings to be hung at the New Year, she is shown inside a window or beyond a blind to indicate the presence of joy and plenty in the home.
(painted scroll attributed to Hanabusa Itcho, Japan, 1652-1724)


1 comment:

  1. oh, familiar memories here - suddenly nostalgic.