A BISCUIT FIGURE OF PUTAI

Reference#: P9202

17th century

Dimensions:
Height: 6 ½ inches (16.5 cm.)
Base: 5 inches x 4 inches (12.7 x 10.2 cm.)

Pu-tai, or Budai, is commonly known in the West as “the Laughing Buddha.” Instantly recognizable as the bald, round, jolly man with a large exposed belly, he carries prayer beads and a cloth sack, inside which are sweets for children (and alongside which he is often depicted). Pu-tai was a Buddhist monk from the 10th century about whom little is known. His name translates as ‘cloth sack’, his signifying attribute which he always carried around. He was later identified as a manifestation of Bodhisattva Maitreya, the future Buddha. The tradition of rubbing his belly for good luck is a folkloric practice and not a part of Buddhist teaching. Pu-tai represents happiness, generosity, and wealth.

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