the great meditator and imovable master of concentration, is here undone by the
comic figure of a woman--Okame, goddess of mirth who now has access to the most
delicate hairs of his senses. The sage hermit winces at her touch, his composure
demolished, one eye shut tightly against the invasion, the other wide with mortal
peril, while he bites his finger in mortified confusion that is not without a
hint of curious pleasure. Such is the skill of the artist that the scene comes
alive with a playful intensity that signifies a true master.
Carved from fine, well marked tusk ivory, densely grained with rich cream
to gold patina, engraving with sumi. Brilliantly accomplished with skill and subtlety
in both characterization and detail, with Okame attired in embroidered robes,
her flowing hair tied back, a fluttering sash falling to the bottom of the kimono
that covers her feet. Tenderly she reaches up, her eyes narrowed to inspect the
matter as she manipulates the pendulous earlobe of the helpless patriarch whose
whisk, fan and book lie disregarded beneath them.