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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
unsigned wood netsuke
early 19th century
oni looking in mirror
height 1 1/2 in., 3.7 cm
the seated oni holds a mirror resting on his folded leg, his face stricken with horror as he realizes his horns have grown back, the dark reddish-brown wood bears a deep patina, early 19th century
Although oni are primarily engaged in tormenting the inhabitants of the living world by various means (mischievous or more sinister), occasionally oni would repent their sins and dedicate themselves to following a Buddhist path. As a part of their renunciation, they would hide or saw off their horns- a futile gesture as demonstrated by this netsuke.
Expressions of Style: Netsuke as Art, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, August 2001, no. 61
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