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


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
October 28, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475