19th century okimono style boxwood netsuke of Bishamonten - one of the seven Gods of Good Fortune, an armor-clad God of War and warriors, a punisher of evildoers as well as an equivalent of Vaishravana, and thus the protector of the Northern direction. He has a pagoda shaped shrine in one hand symbolizing the divine treasure house, whose contents he both guards and gives away, and a fu (an ancient weapon in a form of a double sided axe on a pole) in the other. There is a scarf billowing behind his back, his foot is pressing down the head of a subdued oni. Somewhat unusual subject, wonderful detailing - see his ferocious face with beautifully carved beard, unhappy and confused expression of the demon, rich depiction of his helmet, armor and robe. Beautifully stained, wonderful patina, in excellent condition. Signed KOGYOKU in oval reserve on the back - for information about the artist, who was the son of carver Koun, see p. 638 of NETSUKE & INRO ARTISTS AND HOW TO READ THEIR SIGNATURES by George Lazarnick. Height 2 5/8 inches.