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Neil Holton Japanese Art

Oni no Nembutsu

A repentant Oni stands upright in a loose gown, a clapper in one hand, a circular bell in the other.

The demon has a bemused expression, the fact that his horns are still present, I suspect that the path to enlightenment is not all that was expected. The life of a monk, collecting alms, eating restrictions and never ending chores and meditation has him contemplating ‘will I or won’t I’.

The feet are the two toed variety and huge, indeed this exaggeration makes the demon look quite hilarious, lets hope he never grows into them! The wood is the type utilised in the Tsu region and is nicely patinated. The eyes are inlaid in shell with horn pupils. The himotoshi formed by a single entrance hole beside the sleeve, the exit hidden beneath the hem of the gown at the Oni’s rear.

Anonymous. Tsu. Circle of Tomin. Early - Mid 19th Century.