16 x 20 | flashe
What is going on here? Has Hotei pulled something from his bag to admire & give away? or has he culled the last fruit from the tree, something to add to his bag of goodness for others? Is he holding up a seed to urge the tree to be fruitful? Or maybe he's offering a peach to the Moon Goddess? He knows the peach is one of the blessed fruits, a 'kami', who gives strength to the gods. Or Maybe in the moonlight he holds up this fruit thinking of Momotaro, "Peach Boy," who came from the seed of a peach to slay the demons of Demon Island that his People might prosper?
Any of these possibilities could be...or none of them. Does it really matter? I don't think so. I see the figure of Hotei as rendered originally by Hakuin Ekaku (1685 - 1768) simply rapt by a peach or a peach seed. I imagine the sweetness! That first peach of Spring...so fragrant, so sweet, so refreshing and delightful! A moment to savor!