Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.
Antique Sculpted Ceramic Image of a Tanuki in Priest Robes
Please refer to our stock # TCR7011 when inquiring.
The tanuki appears in various Japanese folklores as one of the most mischievous animals. With its ability to shape shift, the tanuki often transforms itself into human form or inanimate objects in order to play tricks on people. Here the mischievous trickster dressed as an itinerant priest with his mokugyo prayer drum suspended around his neck looks up at us with big, pleading eyes. It is well sculpted from thick clay, hollow in the center, and decorated with various colors. It is signed Rokuroku-saku on the bottom of the prayer drum, and stands roughly 34 cm (13-1/2 inches) tall and dates from the late 19th to early 20th century. There is a repair to the striker (made to fit in the right paw, see photo closeup), the figure itself is in great condition, enclosed in a period wooden box.
The fox and or Tanuki are often depicted ironically in the robes of a priest, nun or old woman.
For a similar image of a fox from this era see the scroll by Eiraku Hozen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York of the same theme with the inscription: Beware of those who have renounced the world although they wear the robes of priests at heart they are foxes still, or the Indianapolis Museum of Arts scroll painted by Nakahara Nantenbo bearing the inscription: Don’t allow yourself to be fooled. This priest, bobbing through life, even though he wears robes he is still a fox.
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