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Oni with Big Oni Mask Netsuke
Sold To Private Collection

Antique Japanese Netsuke
Oni
Carrying Big Mask

Netsuke Signature: unsigned, 19th Century

H 2 in.(5cm), W 1.5 in.(3.8cm), D 1 in.(2.5cm)

Condition: good, minor hairline

Even a gnarled little oni has need of a fearsome mask for special occasions. In this cream-colored ivory, the oni is weighed down by his burden which he hefts by means of a strong rope over his shoulders. The oni is grotesque enough to provide a fright unaided; his own face is a veritable replica of the mask, the only differences being the oniís fangs, as opposed to the straight and even teeth of the mask, and the fact that the mask has one large horn in contrast to the two suave bumps on the head of the oni. The mask with its one horn portrays Ikkaku, the unfortunate magician who lost his powers by surrendering to the seemingly harmless temptation of a beautiful woman; his ruination through passion is frequently depicted in netsuke, and as such this story lends a quality of agonized fury to the mask. This little ivory is forceful, expressive and well carved, with conviction in the stance and forward movement of the work. The hair is admirably depicted as furry eyebrows and spiraling curls of both oni and mask, with sensitive attention to detail in the hands with their neatly carved fingernails, and the four-toed feet. A fine work in fine tusk ivory, marked with striations and even in color.

  
  
Oni with Big Oni Mask Netsuke
  
  
  
  
  
  
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