Late 19th century netsuke of a seated Oni no nembutsu (a demon who saw the light of Buddhism and became pious) scratching it head in puzzlement as a snake slithers out of a Buddhist gong in front of it - something went wrong with its understanding of Buddha’s teachings. Rather unusual subject, very well carved with wonderful detailing - see its confused face and the texture of its animal skin pants. Beautiful staining and patina, very nice wear, in excellent condition. Signed MASAKAZU on the bottom - the artist is most probably Sawaki Masakazu of Osaka - see The Meinertzhagen Card Index of Netsuke in the Archives of the British Museum, p. 420. Height 1 1/4 inches.