Laughing Buddha

 

 

Laughing Buddha Statues are perhaps one of the most loved artifacts. They are commonly seen in homes, offices, hotels, gardens, restaurants and shops. The Laughing Buddha is a symbol of happiness, contentment, and prosperity. He is bald a rotund figure with a warm smiling face. He is clothed in robes, and his protruding tummy symbolizes abundance and mirth. He is also believed to be the future Buddha or Maitreya Buddha .

The obese Buddha with a smiling face is known as ‘Budai’ in China. The Chinese laughing Buddha is associated to a roving Ch'an (Zen) monk of the Liang Dynasty in China. He was famous for his benevolent and cheerful nature. He used to carry a cloth like bag wherever he went. The bag was called ‘Pu- Tai’ in indigenous Chinese language. Hence the monk came to be known as ‘Pu-tai Hoshang’ or ‘hemp-bag monk’. Sculptures and statues of the Laughing Buddha often depict him as carrying a sack that is filled with ‘goodies' like sweets, food and rice plants. The latter is a symbol of wealth. He is sometimes seen holding a wish-giving fan. The fan in Laughing Buddha Statues is believed to be the ultimate symbol of happiness and joy. The Happy Buddha is also depicted holding a staff on which rests a Wulu gourd. This is filled with the elixir for eternal youth. Often, he holds a begging bowl. His amulet symbolizes his authority in Heaven and his generous power.



The Laughing Buddha is also known as the Laughing Buddha of Plenty. In Feng Shui, he is the symbol for wealth. It is believed that rubbing his tummy, which contains wealth, luck, good fortune, and joy will be ours. Laughing Buddha statues are popular house warming gifts. They are also used as good luck charms. It is commonly held that statues of the Laughing Buddha must not be placed on the floor. They must be positioned on an elevated surface, as a sign of respect. Moreover, the best direction to place them is the personal wealth direction. Colorful laughing Buddha pictures also grace the modern interiors. The images represent the robust monk with an impish grin and a protruded tummy. In most pictures we find him seated on a huge gold pedestal with elaborate decorations all over. This is the most familiar representation of Happy Pu-Tai. Many images reflect smiling Buddha figure with a hemp sack on his way to travel. ‘Budai’ holding a ‘Ru-Yi’ or bowl in his hand portray the typical Buddhist nature, begging all the sadness from the people of the world. Some pictures depict children playing at his feet or pulling his cart. These represent his affection and love for the tiny tots. Another common image is Laughing Buddha standing, stretching his arms in the air and blessing the mankind for good luck, success, happiness, fulfillment, prosperity and wealth. The pot bellied bald figure is also found wielding his fan ‘oogi’ in many images.

Statues of the Laughing Buddha have been made in a variety of material:

  • Pewter
  • Cold cast resin
  • Ceramic
  • Bronze
  • Brass
  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Rose quartz
  • Wood
  • Stone (marble, jade, soapstone, crushed stone among others)
  • Pewter
  • Cold cast resin
  • Fiber
  • Terracotta

Most Laughing Buddha statues are hard carved. They are available individually or as a group of six handcrafted sculptures. These are the six different representations of the Maitreya Buddha. They are placed in homes to attract more happiness.



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