The stout half naked figure of Laughing Buddha is decorated well. He has been represented as a rotund figure with a happy disposition. His Chinese name is Pu-tai Ho-shang or "Hemp-bag monk". He is originally a fertility figure who was known to bring "goodies" in his bag to local townsfolk, especially children. Later, he became a pre-incarnation of Maitreya. In Japan he is called Hotei and is one of the seven lucky gods. It is believed that rubbing his belly brings good luck and prosperity as his big figure is a sign of abundance.
Laughing Buddha - Wooden Sculpture