Charts & Graphs

Divine Smiles

Gods who know how to have a good time.

A drawing of a large laughing man wearing a long robe.


Japanese god of abundance and joy


Nicknamed the Laughing (or Fat) Buddha and distinguished by his wide smile, laugh lines, and round, exposed belly, Hotei is often depicted playing boisterously with children.

Party trick

His name comes from the Chinese term for “hemp sack,” a nod to the cloth bag whose inexhaustible contents he uses to feed the poor.

A statue of a woman wearing a crown, holding a sword and a trident. She is wearing jewels and a floral garland.


Hindu “Mother of Satisfaction”


A “celluloid goddess” popularized by a 1975 musical film, Santoshi Mata has the glamour of a Bollywood star but borrows her accessories, including a sword and a lotus throne, from more established goddesses.

Party trick

When her followers look at her statue, one adoring website claims, they “forget their problems, and feel as if they are lost in her beauty and calmness.”

A drawing of a beautiful woman wearing a crown, a gold dress, and looking at herself in a hand mirror.


Yoruban deity of water and sweetness


In her 2016 visual album Lemonade, Beyoncé wears a yellow gown and unleashes a torrent of water, visually invoking Oshun, who is often depicted clad in gold.

Party trick

In exchange for offerings of honey and perfume, Oshun grants her devotees prosperity, fertility, and erotic love.

A depiction of a man wearing a tunic and holding a vessel.


Etruscan god of wine, ecstasy, and springtime


Inspired by images of Dionysus, the analogous Greek god, Etruscan artists depicted Fufluns as a youthful reveler garlanded with ivy.

Party trick

Folk tales about his supernatural green thumb persisted for millennia. As late as the 1890s, Tuscan winemakers sang hymns to “Faflon” in hopes of securing bountiful grape harvests.

A drawing of a reclining woman with red hair and feathered wings.


Chibchan goddess of pleasure and intoxication


As punishment for distracting humans from work, Huitaca was transformed from a beautiful woman into an owl by her archnemesis, the god of sobriety and productivity.

Party trick

Huitaca introduced humanity to what one 1914 source described as “new and terrible” ways: dancing, drinking, and recreational sex.

Three men with long beards, smiling together.


Chinese trinity of happiness, profit, and longevity


Originally a trio of stars, the three deities were reimagined in the Ming dynasty as elderly men rewarded with immortality for their exceptional virtue.

Party trick

Worshippers in search of the good life leave offerings of oranges before the votive statues of the gods commonly placed in homes and businesses.