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Oni (173)

Oni-nenbutsu
Figure of a demon
Monoxylous wood and pigments
Edo period, 18th-19th century
H.: 28 cm (51 cm with base)

Oni are creatures from Japanese folklore, variously translated as demons, devils or ogres. They are popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theatre. They are often depicted with two long horns and sharp fangs. Otsu-e folk-art painting took this character as a subject. It was normally depicted with a priest’s robe and holding a list of donations to a temple, with one horn broken. It satirized a hypocrite in spite of its appearance. There is no doubt that this wooden statue was inspired by Otsu-e. It is quite rare as a wooden figure.

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