Ono Shomin - 5722
Hotei, one of most popular among the Seven Gods of Fortune (Shichifukujin, 七福神), is depicted here inside his sack holding a stiff fan (uchiwa,団扇); all around there are four karako, three of which are tightening the knot that closes the sack, whilst the fourth is seated in front. Three of the children hold objets in their hands: a hammer (tsuchi, 槌), a bell and a fan, which are the God’s attributes. The signature Ono Shomin (小埜 正民), followed by a kakihan, is engraved under the sack.
Ono Shomin is one of the many pupils of Ono Ryomin, an important representative of the Edo/Tokyo school, head of a workshop that producted ivory netsuke and okimono mainly addressed to export. His favourite subjects were groups of figures inspired by Japanese legends or deities.
A particular relationship tied Ono Shomin to another pupil of the workshop, Ono Seimin, with whom he also shared the kakihan in the signature.