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What's the Story?

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
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Shugenja
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby Shugenja » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:37 pm

When I suggested the umbrella behind the Oni no Nembutsu might relate to another Otsu-e figure, I was thinking of the Yakko who carries the spear... however, that's incorrect as it's actually a pompon at the top of the spear.
spear bearer.jpg


Martyn makes a good point about the Oni no Nembutsu figures that carry a closed umbrella. An umbrella serves as a protective device, so the fact that it's closed suggests that it's not needed. But John makes the point that the Oni no Nembutsu is a "Demon Impersonating a Nenbutsu Prayer Reciter". The suggestion is then made that the Oni carries the umbrella because, at some point, he'll be unmasked as not truly repentant, then will need to use it for protection when fuku mame are tossed at him.

The question about the open hand of the figure on the reverse might never be answered. Perhaps an inlay is missing. Did he have beans to toss at the oni ? Or was it an Okame-mochi sweet cake that he was going to enjoy during the performance ?

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AFNetsuke
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby AFNetsuke » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:58 pm

Great contributions Chris and John to the meaning of this ryusa with some extra brain teasing ideas from Judy and Martyn. This kind of probing by multiple minds is what makes our forum great.
Last edited by AFNetsuke on Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alan

onimh
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby onimh » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:23 am

I couldn't agree with you more Alan.
All of the replies add to our collective knowledge in a meaningful, and enjoyable way.
The Oni/Seibo/Tobasaku sennin story is especially interesting to me as Oni and Sennin are a significant chunk of my collection. The play scenario appears more accurate regarding the manju theme and is also enlightening as to the Japanese culture.
Thank you all, as usual, for contributing and answering.

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KPR
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby KPR » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:42 am

My preference for macabre netsuke made me buy this netsuke. It comes from the Petra Dorman collection.
The signature is KIZAN HACHIGYOKU. Meinertzhagen describes this netsuke as follows: Skeleton crouching behind a terrified kneeling woman.
He overlooked the knife in the right hand of the skeleton. (MCI page 347)
Which story is presented here?
1426-004.jpg

IMG_20171201_084206-001.jpg
Klaus

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KPR
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby KPR » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:10 am

So far, I have been offered three possible explanations, which could be behind the Netsuke.
After researching the internet, I tend to the story of "Monk Seigen and Princess Sakura"
See Kazukawa Shunsho's print and the exciting and typical Japanese story:
tumblr_oeqlci6cZY1t43e29o1_500-001.jpg

Downloads-001.jpg
Klaus

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Operafan
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby Operafan » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:12 am

Very interesting story, and interesting netsuke !
Thank you for showing them, Klaus ! We keep learning....
Alex

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chonchon
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby chonchon » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:39 am

Great find, Klaus, saving me from having to use my imagination. I had already worked out half the story in my fevered brain... :geek:
Piers

Size is something.

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KPR
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby KPR » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:35 pm

My imagination: Sakura was a prostitute. This is indicated by the folds of the sleeve, which should remind of the vulva.
1426.cc-001.JPG
Klaus

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AFNetsuke
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby AFNetsuke » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:58 pm

Klaus, i think it was the carvers imagination and your discovery. It makes sense.
Alan

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souldeep
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby souldeep » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:02 pm

KPR wrote:Which story is presented here?

Dear Klaus, congratulations. I find the carving handsome, the patina mellow, and the subject VERY interesting.

May I suggest an alternative story, whilst keeping to the same theme of stage play that opened this thread?

This rather reminds me of the story of the kabuki actor Koheiji and his unfaithful wife, Otsuka.

kohada-koheiji-hokusai-full.jpg

Kohada Koheiji was a third-rate kabuki actor struggling to make a living on the Edo kabuki stage during the time of Ichikawa Danjūrō II (1688-1758). Kohada lacked both natural talent and experience, and could not be cast in a role. Feeling sorry for him, Kohada’s drama instructor bribed a director to cast Kohada in some role—any role. Just so that Kohada would finally be able to take to the stage.

The director took one look at Kohada and saw that he bore a natural resemblance to the yūrei characters of kabuki. His skin was white, his eyes dark and sunken, and his hair long and unruly. The director thought he could save some money on make-up and costume and cast Kohada in the yūrei role of the play.

While it wasn’t exactly his dream role, Kohada saw this as his big break and threw himself into studying. He went to the morgue to observe dead faces, and learned how to slack his face muscles and hold his body like a dead man. His diligence and hard work paid off, and Kohada was an overnight success. His fame spread, however his skill was limited. He could only be cast in yūrei roles, which led his fellow actors to nickname him Yūrei Kohada.

Kohada had a wife named Otsuka whom he was deeply in love with. Otsuka, however did not return the affection and thought Kohada was an embarrassing fool. Behind his back she was having an affair with a fellow actor named Adachi Sakuro. Together they hatched a plot to get rid of Kohada.

When they were away together on a tour, Adachi invited Kohada to go fishing. Suspecting nothing, Kohada went out with Adachi on a boat into the Asaka Swamp. Once they were far out from shore, Adachi surprised Kohada, pushing him off the boat and holding him under the water until he drowned.

Adachi was thrilled with his deed, and hurried back to let Otsuka know that he had cleared the path to their love. But he was not the only one. Kohada was not content to lie dead at the bottom of the swamp. He rose again a yūrei, and went to meet Adachi and Otsuka in Edo.

As might be expected, Kohada was a fabulous yūrei. More than any man alive, he had practised enough to perfect the role. His new dead self looked exactly has he had on the stage, and he knew every trick to elicit terror in the cheating, murderous couple. He haunted them relentlessly, driving them mad and eventually to their own unnatural deaths.


On the shunga aspect - perhaps here the artist displaying the genitals as a light hearted reminder of the serious trouble one can get into, when one allows themself to get vulva whipped.

The knife a symbol of revenge, much loved in the kabuki plays.
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.


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