The Goddess of Music and Good Fortune

May 21–December 31, 2011

Benzaiten, the goddess of music and good fortune, has been revered in Japan from ancient times to the present. This exhibition explores the long-lasting popularity of the goddess in Japanese culture and the iconographical transformations of her image over 500 years. See her orthodox depiction as a beautiful musician with a lute, her appearance as an eight-armed Esoteric deity providing protection from calamities, and finally her current personage as a friendly, folk-religious icon. “The Goddess of Music and Good Fortune” features striking representations of the deity that demonstrate her enduring appeal.


With generous support from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund.