Oni massages Okame
Date: 19th century
Dimensions: (H) 4.1 x (W) 2.３ x (D) 3.5 cm
This humorous netsuke shows an oni massaging Okame. Although oni are usually described as the Japanese equivalent of demons, their representation in the nineteenth century becomes markedly more comical. Especially in netsuke carvings, their minute rendering usually place them in jocular situations. The character of Okame is said to have stemmed from Ama no Uzume, a Shinto deity with associations with fertility and festival. Her unwavering joy is expressed by her contented face even whilst being massaged by a demon.