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TOP > Newsletter > back Number Vol.5

SAGEMONOYA Newsletter back Number Vol.5

Shoki ~ The Demon Queller ~

As Japan was blessed with glorious weather throughout her consecutive bank holidays known as Golden Week, omnipresent were Shoki statues alongside other ornaments for Boy’s Day celebration, Tango no Sekku. The deity figure of academic achievement and protection is ever so popular in early May.

鍾馗 根付

Shoki Netsuke Wood late 18th Century 112 ㎜

The legend is that Shoki had appeared in the dream of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang dynasty in China and helped the sick emperor recover by killing the demons causing the illness.

In a city like Kyoto, one may spot Shoki statues on the roof tiles of many old style Japanese housings.

鍾馗と鬼 根付

Shoki and Oni Netsuke Wood late 18th century 61 ㎜

By the elaborate and detailed designs of many Shoki Netsuke, it is hard to doubt
its popularity during the Edo period as a subject of the palm-sized sculpture.

A diagram of Shoki and Oni by Shuzan
from Soken Kisho (published in 1781).

鍾馗と鬼 イラスト

and a Netsuke with similar composition

鍾馗と鬼 根付2

Shoki and Oni Netsuke Wood 18th century 61 ㎜

In the same book is a Netsuke of Shoki sharpening his sword by Tametaka(為隆) of Bishu (present Nagoya area). This well-recognised design is similar in style to the paintings of Shoki by Sesson (1504?~1589), a celebrated Japanese monk and a painter from Muromachi period.

剣研鍾馗 根付

Shoki sharpening his sword Netsuke signed Tametaka Wood 18th century 45 mm

剣研鍾馗 ルイ・ゴンス

Tametaka’s pupil, Tadatoshi has also carved a very similar Netsuke, as shown in the above diagram. A record shows that this Netsuke was part of the Netsuke collection by Louis GONSE (1846-1921), a renowned Japanese Art enthusiast of French origin, and the hand-written words on the diagram is said to be written by Gonse himself.

Yukari Yoshida

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