BRONZE BUDDHAWOOD BUDDHASTONE BUDDHAJAPANESE NETSUKE
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Edo Period Horn Manju Netsuke
Raging Rakan
Three Oni Masks
Signature: unsigned, early 19th Century
H 1.75 in.(4.5cm), W 1.75 in.(4.5cm), D 0.5 in.(1.25cm)
Condition: excellent!

Antique manju netsuke in natural dark color, with sunk relief carving of Rakan on a basket- weave background. Fluidly carved, round and flat, burnished over time and with a visible grain of parallel striations; one side showing a raging Rakan, the other side with three faces bearing animated, distinctly different expressions. A work exemplifying the Edo period, with its lively and eccentric handling of subjects.

Rakan Horn Manju lt
Sold To Private Collection

The Gohyaku-Rakan are the five hundred disciples of Buddha who mastered the Dharma but failed to attain Nirvana; therefore their human qualities prevail, endearing them to followers of the Dharma. There are Gohyaku Rakans throughout Japan depicting the five hundred Rakans in every possible mood and expression of humankind from unconscious rage to perfect bliss. Therefore it is said that one can find one’s own face among them without fail.

This manju is a reminder that even the wise can fall under the spell of the three poisons--Anger, Delusion and Greed. The sage on the front has lost his equipoise and is flailing his fists in rage. On the reverse the three faces symbolize Anger in the fierce fangs of one head, Delusion as a laughing man, and Greed as a hungry ghost, all of them woven tightly together as the reeds of a basket. The “Basket of Discipline” is the oldest of the three sections of the Tipitaka (“Triple Basket”) given by the Buddha.

  
Rakan Horn Manju Netsuke frontRakan Horn Manju back
  
  
  
Rakan Horn Manju Netsuke
  
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