A muscular oni, seated holding a vessel in both hands, his eyes wide and teeth gritted, legs pulled up and feet pressed together forming a compact composition. The surface of the wood is nicely worn, displaying a beautiful deep patina. To the underside, the oni’s loincloth forms the bar for the himotoshi.
It has previously been suggested that the vessel the oni holds is a shrine that the oni had stolen from Bishamon Ten. This could be the intended subject, although in all the netsuke I’ve encountered of that subject the oni is on a cloud escaping, or Bishamon himself is present and the shrine looks, well, more shrine-like. If you look into the top of the vessel you can see what appears to be liquid – perhaps our oni is drunk and fears losing his sake, so clings to it with all his might?
The Julius and Arlette Katchen Collection of Fine Netsuke Part III, lot number 19
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