Ono Seimin - 5554
This okimono depicts Emma-o (閻魔王), the fifth and most important of the Ten Kings of the Buddhist Hell with two assistants; the one at his side holds a book in her arms, while the woman-oni seated behind him plays the shamisen (三味線, three string instrument) with a plectrum. The decoration of the clothes worn by the three characters of this composition is enriched by floral and geometrical motifs, partly inspired by the Chinese tradition. On the deity’s headpiece is engraved the ideogram o (王), “king”. The signature Ono Seimin (小埜 政民) is located at the base of the piece.
Ono Seimin ( 小埜 政民), active in the second half of the 19th century, worked in Ono Ryomin workshop, a prolific master of the Edo/Tokyo school. In his repertoire there where ivory okimono and netsuke whose subjects were rendered with great realism and richness of detail as shown by this piece. A special relationship linked him to another student Ono Shomin (also present with a piece in the collection Lanfranchi) with whom he often shared the kakihan in the signature (not in this case).