This small netsuke depicts Jurōjin, the God of Longevity from the Daoist Seven Gods of Fortune, sitting on the back of a spotted deer. Jurōjin has his characteristically enlarged, bald head with swollen earlobes and a long beard; he holds open the scroll on which is written the life span of all living things between his hands. The deer, a symbol of longevity, is quite small, and turns its head towards the left, its antlers lying flat against his neck. They are positioned on an irregularly shaped platform.
Jurōjin is one of the Daoist Seven Gods of Fortune. Sometimes confused with Fukurokuji, another of the Seven, Jurōjin is the God of Longevity and the personification of the Southern Polar Star. He is typically depicted as a short, older man with a long beard and an unusually tall, bald head. He usually carries a fan and a staff, to which is tied a scroll recording the life span of all living things. He is frequently accompanied by a deer, which is a symbol of longevity. Jurōjin is a popular subject in Japanese art, particularly in the Zen ink painting tradition.