Minzan - 5687

Minzan, Japan

Two Oni
late 19th - early 20th
3,5x4,2x3,5 cm
民山 (Minzan)
2005 bequest Maria Taglietti Lanfranchi
Inv. 5687

Netsuke depicting an oni (demon, 鬼) bent on his knees under the weight of a huge tobacco purse (tabakoire, 煙入) carried on his shoulders, decorated with the mask of a demon in relief, and a phoenix (hoo, 鳳凰) flying among clouds; the tabakoire is completed with a spherical ojime and a netsuke representing a Hannya mask (feminine demon). In the effort to lift the big weight, the character is helped by a smaller oni who is at his right side. The two himotoshi holes are located on the back, near the pelvis: one is larger then the other. The signature Minzan (民山) is carved on the breeches at buttocks level.

The Minzan who made this piece was a clever artist, probably active in the late Meiji (1868-1912) period, when the production of netsuke and okimono inclined to the tastes of the export market was very common.