Item # 119009.
This traditional lacquered paper mache folk toy is based on the story of a red ox in the 9th century who helped haul materials to build a temple and refused to leave once the temple was finished. It became a symbol of devotion to Buddha.
The first toys were not made until the 16th century in Fukushima Prefecture, at which time a coincidental outbreak of smallpox occurred. Children who possessed the akabeko toys seemed to not catch the disease. Hence the superstition that akabeko were talismans for good health. Perhaps their time has come again! 3-3/4" L x 1-3/8" W x 2-1/8" H.
NOTE: The akabeko that is for sale now differs slightly from the one pictured on the catalog cover. After COVID we had to find a new artisan to make these treasured toys, and the new artisan added the kanji for fuku (good luck!) on its back instead of the three stripes. But the handmade craftsmanship is the same!
Check out our Year of the Ox T-Shirt!
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