Just for fun, I knit this scarf for my statue of Pu-Tai, better known as the Laughing Buddha. He's probably my favorite incarnation of the Buddha- so jolly. A little bit like Santa Claus, but way less commercial, and more enlightened, of course. He tends to look a little cold in the winter, or maybe it's just me projecting my coldness on him. I knit a simple i-cord with some handspun cotton, and added some tassles. That's better!
The Laughing Buddha emerged from Chinese folktales of the 10th century. The original stories of the Laughing Buddha centered on a Ch'an monk named Ch'i-t'zu, or Qieci, from Fenghua, in what is now the province of Zhejiang. Ch'i-t'zu was an eccentric but much-loved character who worked small wonders such as predicting the weather.
The tales of Ch'i-t'zu spread throughout China, and he came to be called Pu-tai (Budai), which means "hempen sack." He carries a sack with him full of good things, such as sweets for children, and he is often pictured with children. Pu-tai represents happiness, generosity and wealth, and he is a protector of children as well as of the poor and the weak.