In the style of Enku (1632-1695)
This tall, slender figure is carved from cedar in Enku's so-called hatchet style. Enku was a yamabashi, or traveling priest, whose mission was to serve the remote villages of rural Japan-- particularly those in the more northern parts. As acts of devotion, he produced thousands of Buddhist carvings over the course of his life-- many of which were given by him to the temples he served as well as the parishioners.
This figure is probably an image of the Buddhist rain and dragon deity, Zennyo Ryuo, standing upon a rock, holding a tablet against his chest with a dragon mask surmounting his head. It appears this carving was covered in a thin, dark lacquer, much of which is now worn away. Overall, the condition is good. Purchased in Kyoto in 1973, and sold as a 19th Century “Mingei” Buddha.
Height: 18 ½ in., Width: 3 in.