Tokyokusai - 5401

Donjo Tokyokusai - Ōsaka school

The Oil Thief
First half 19th century
ivory  
4,6x3,7x1,6 cm
signature
東旭齋 (Tokyokusai)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5401

not on display


Okimono which represents a moment of the  Abura Bozu (油 僧, literally "Oil monk") episode, also known as the Oil Thief.  Legend tells that Tadamori, samurai of the Taira clan, at the service of Emperor Shirakawa, was instructed by the Emperor to capture and kill a demonic figure who, in the dark of the night, wandered around a temple in Kyoto emanating flames. Tadamori, who did not act on impulse, discovered that the misterious creature was the old monk responsible for lighting the temple lamps, who with a straw hat, a jar full of oil and an open flame fulfilled his task. Given the wisdom and prudence used by Tadamori the Emperor rewarded him by giving him in marriage his own concubine. Another version of the story says that the person who wandered around in the night was an old servant, who had the habit of stealing the oil to fuel the fire of his lamp. The signature Tokyokusai (東旭齋 ) is carved on the base of the okimono platform.


The artist author of this piece is Tokyokusai Donyo member of the Ōsaka School, active in the first half of the nineteenth century and probably a pupil of Doraku.

G.R.