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What's the Story?

What subject or legend is depicted in your netsuke or sagemono?
onimh
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What's the Story?

Postby onimh » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Does anyone have any idea as to what the story is, if any, behind this piece?
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manju H0011-L124558765.jpg
manju obverse H0011-L124558767.jpg

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souldeep
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby souldeep » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:36 pm

I'm sorry I can't explain the exact story. But I can still say bravo :lust:

Great thing sir. I love the Oni suppressed at the bottom. What's in his hand, I cannot tell when I zoom into the image? Perhaps a vanquished Oni (Oni No Nembutsu) that was disguised as a temple priest with a temple gong in one hand?

I look forward to hearing someone share the subject.
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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souldeep
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby souldeep » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:10 pm

I just noted - something may have originally been in the guys hand, on the back of the piece. Luckily - you find out the subject, I imagine getting an inlay sensitively restored is not a big cost. This piece deserves it!

Or then again maybe there is nothing missing from his hand. He waits catching something from the vine? The lady on the other side is helping. It looks like she is pulling at the vine, or maybe has thrown something over into the gentleman's hand?

Whatever the subject, the front and back are surely connected.

I also note a kiseru (smoking pipe) on the bench he sits upon, almost forgotten as it half dangles over the edge of the bench. Interesting that a netsuke ryusa decided to depict this. Does smoking have something to do with the subject? There is a box spilling contents on the bench as well. What might be the contents, tobacco?
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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jbjtennyo
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:07 pm

I am not sure I know the story this ryusa is telling, but sometimes, as they say, when you are not sure, you might imagine something, based on what you DO know! So here is a possibility.

As you all know, Tobosaku tended the heavenly garden of Goddess Seiobo. One day, he was sitting on a bench in front of the magic peach tree, enjoying a moment's rest, and smoking his pipe. Unbeknownst to Tobosaku, a drama was happening just on the other side of the tree. Goddess Seiobo had been walking and enjoying her garden when she came across what seemed to be a priest. When she had a closer look though, it was an imposter! An Oni, dressed in Priest's clothing was trying to steal a peach branch from her tree! The peach branch, as you know, would grant the owner life eternal. Goddess Seiobo, without giving it a second thought, tackled Oni to the ground, grabbed the peach branch from him, and slung it over the treetop, removing it from Oni's grasp!
Well then, sitting on the other side, Tobosaku sat smoking his pipe and minding his own business when a peach branch literally fell into hand, seemingly a blessing from the Gods! Tobosaku, believing this was his gift, accepted the branch, fled the garden, and was granted life eternal! A lot better choice than Oni to receive such a gift!.

Just my over active imagination finding a scenario that will fit such a story-telling ryusa. You Know there is a story in there somewhere! We just have to find the right one. The above is only one possibilty! ;)
Judy

onimh
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby onimh » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:54 pm

BINGO ( I think)!!!
Great story. I hadn't heard that before.
The spillage appears to me to be a liquid.

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Shugenja
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby Shugenja » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:11 pm

Judy, thanks, that's quite an imaginative story ! Here's my suggestion... The figure standing on the oni is Fuji Musume, the Wisteria Maiden (the hanging flowers are wisteria), and the Oni figure represents the "repentant" oni, Oni no Nembutsu. Both these figures are part of the Otsue-e imagery. There's an umbrella lying on the ground behind the oni suggesting another Otsu-e figure.

It seems as though Fuji Musume is dancing, that combined with other Otsu-e figures, (one present, one implied) suggests to me that this might be a depiction from a kabuki play... one that premiered in the early 19th century in which one actor played a number of roles.

About the figure on the back of the manju... which is always important to fully understanding the meaning. I do believe this is a member of the kabuki theatre audience ! The cheapest seats in the theatre were on the floor, but pay a bit more and you got a bench seat... which is what I think we see with the individual who is fully enjoying his stay at the theatre, plus the performance.

The piece missing in the oni's hand is the head of the hammer he uses to beat the drum.

Chris

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jbjtennyo
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby jbjtennyo » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:08 pm

Chris, Thank you for that! You are always a huge help, so well versed on the legends and plays. I am so happy that you have helped out here with your knowledge! Now that you have told the story, it does certainly look like wisteria hanging, and not at all a peach tree!
A great conclusion for the story of this Ryusa..
So good to see you back here again.
Judy

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souldeep
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby souldeep » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:58 am

Dear Chris,

Thank you so much for the explanation! The story really comes together as a theme and makes sense of the ryusa. It also explains the wooden area the two actors are displayed on. It's a stage. For interest here is a painting of the pair. Again depicting the wysteria.

5050161212770064.jpg

A couple of questions. I've seen in paintings, and netsuke, Oni no Nembutsu represented with an umbrella. Below a quick example of what I mean;

unnamed.jpg
otsue nenbutsu fujimusume.jpg
netsuke-bois-ivoire-demon-oni-no-nembutsu-pretre-parapluie-gong-japon-samourai-parapluie-signe.jpg

I wonder if the umbrella is just part of this Oni no Nembutsu stage dress?

Do you have any thoughts on why the hand of the gentleman in the audience is held out, cupped, and possibly empty?
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.

neilholton
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby neilholton » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:16 am

Brilliant Chris, thanks for sharing. I for one have missed your scholarship.

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tanukisan
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Re: What's the Story?

Postby tanukisan » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:16 am

I suspect this ryusa netsuke theme is about contasts - The demure wisteria maiden / disguised oni are separate elements although both on the same side of the netsuke. Popular story characters or humorous figures, such as “Oni no Nenbutsu” (Demon Impersonating a Nenbutsu Prayer Reciter), “Fuji Musume” (Dancing Girl with Wisteria). The drawings were often used as amulets for protection or luck.

Fuji Musume or "Wisteria Maiden", is a famous classical dance out of the Kabuki theater and was first performed in 1826 as one of a set of five dances.it portrays the spirit of the wisteria as a fashionable young girl, extravagantly dressed in a long sleeved kimono, called Nagasode, and obi with a distinctive wisteria pattern. She carries a wisteria branch with which she poses as the dance begins.The 'nagauta' ('long song') lyrics that accompany the dance are complex and create a series of suggestive images. They make sensual references to the closeness of the wisteria and its supporting pine tree, entwined stems compared to two lovers sleeping together.The dance moves through distinct sections, with the dancer miming the joy of a girl in love, then the heartbreak of jealousy and betrayal.

As Martyn has shown, the combination of Fuji Musume and Oni no Nembutsu appeared in print, notably by Utamaro around 1802-03 from the series Souvenir Paintings from Ôtsu.

John 



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