A fine ivory netsuke of Jizo, wearing earrings and naked except for a loincloth, wrestling with an oni on top of a lotus leaf. Jizo holds on to the oni’s tiger-skin loincloth with both hands, while the little devil, confidently smiling, has one hand over the monk’s shoulder and another supporting himself on the leaf. Finely carved details, especially of the individual facial expressions, and finely stained – a prime example from this important Edo artist, perhaps only rivalled by his contemporary Hojitsu. The underside with the veiny structure of the lotus leaf and a central himotoshi, as well as the signature neatly inlaid with a gold tablet HO RAKUMIN 樂民 with kao.
HEIGHT 2.3 cm, LENGTH 3.6 cm
Condition: Very good condition. The nick on the lotus leaf is intended.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection.
Jizo is a Boddhisattva, patron of deceased children and has the ability to open the gates of hell – typically amusing of the netsuke carver to show him wrestling with an oni.
Literature comparison: For a similar netsuke signed Rakumin see F. Meinertzhagen, MCI Part A, New York, 1986, page 160.