DESCRIPTION: A carved Japanese ivory okimono of the Demon Queller, Shoki, subduing the horned oni crouched at his feet. The stern, bearded Shoki stands clutching the oni’s arm while the oni is pushed to his knees, crying in terror. Another small oni is hidden in a nearby sack, oblivious to his potential danger. Shoki’s sleeves swirl with the action of capturing his foe and his robe, hair and spear are finely detailed in the back view. Meiji Period; very good condition with no chips or repairs. DIMENSIONS: 4 ½” high (11.5 cm) X 3 ¾” wide (9.5 cm)
CULTURAL BACKGROUND: Oni are small demons from Japanese folklore. These popular imps are widely featured in Japanese art, literature and theatre, growing out of the religious traditions of Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan. In the Edo Period the demons began to be depicted with humor, more mischievous than dangerous. In netsuke figures and other carvings, this humor was shown as they played tricks and practical jokes upon their enemy Shoki, the Demon Queller.