ほていのカラコあそび (hotei no karako asobi)
Hotei playing with karako
This work depicts Hotei, one of the Seven Lucky Gods from Chinese folklore. In the West, he is known as the Laughing Buddha and is often depicted as a cheerful fat bald man. Inside of the Hotei, is a smaller top in the shape of a karako (Chinese child doll). When you remove the Hotei figure, the base becomes a platform to spin the karako on, so it appears as if Hotei is playing with the doll.
Hiroi Michiaki: This is Hotei (the god of luck) playing with a karako (Chinese doll). If you take this off, there’s a tiny karako top within, and this platform becomes an arena [to spin it in]. When you spin this part, it starts sumo wrestling, clanging about. And so it’s like Hotei is playing with the karako. It’s that sort of top.