Vintage Japanese Carved Shennong God of Agriculture Herbal Medicine Wood Deity 神農
Japanese Carved Wood Okimono
God of Agriculture
Origin: Japan. Circa: mid 20th century
H 11 in. (28cm), W 7 in. (17.5cm), D 5 in. (12.5cm)
Measurement not including wood base
Condition: Very Good!
The God of Agriculture, Shennong, his name literally translated as Magic Farmer. He is known as the First Deity of the Five Grains, the mythical sage king of prehistoric China (2838 B.C.), and venerated as the original master who taught the ancient Chinese the practice of agriculture and herbal medicine. As shown here in this rare Japanese carving, the horned Shennong as an immortal is realized with a mesmerizing lucidity.
The deity is dressed in a voluminous red robe and a shoulder-length cape made of leaves, he seated in royal ease position, with the right foot resting on his left knee, and one hand holding a green herb for tasting and testing its medicinal effects. Although he is immune to poison, perhaps not its ecstatic effect-- as shown in his two bulging eyes, which explicitly signifying the intensity of his experience, as well as his corpulent presence and expense of powers. The God of Agriculture is carved in the round, tactile to the touch, with sumptuous red and gold effectively unified the stained fruitwood carving.