Antique Asian Works of Art from Ancient East
Japanese Ivory Okimono, Three Oni, Meiji

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Ivory: Pre 1900: item # 819720

Please refer to our stock # IVR160 when inquiring.

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Ancient East
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Orlando, FL 32856-0566

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Japanese Ivory Okimono, Three Oni, Meiji

DESCRIPTION: In this appealing little ivory okimono we see that three oni have captured Shoki’s hat and are clambering over it with glee. Demonstrating fine detail, we see the demons’ mischievous natures in their faces, the fine work in their clothing and the elaborate designs on Shoki’s pointed cap. Signed in a red cartouche on the underside of the hat, this okimono is in excellent condition with a nice patina and mellow wear; Meiji Period, 19th C. DIMENSIONS: 2 ¼” wide (5.7 cm) x 1 7/8” high (4.7 cm).

CULTURAL BACKGROUND: Oni are creatures from Japanese folklore, variously translated as demons, devils, ogres or trolls. Popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theatre, they grew out of the religious traditions of Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan, and Taoism in China. Depictions of oni vary widely but they are usually portrayed as evil, hideous creatures to be feared with their sharp claws, wild hair, and two horns growing from their heads. Indeed, during the time of the Japanese seclusion from the rest of the world, even foreigners were looked upon as Oni, and not to be trusted. In the Edo Period the demons began to be depicted with humor, more mischievous than dangerous. Especially in Netsuke figures and other carvings, this humor was shown as they played tricks and practical jokes upon their enemy Shoki, the Demon Queller.

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