Tengu blending medicine
Date: 19th century
Dimensions: (H) 3.9 x (W) 3.9 x (D) 2.6 cm
Tengu are mythical creatures that live in the mountains in Japanese folkore. The legend originated from China from around the 6th to 7th century. They were regarded as mischievous, half tobi (type of hawk) and half human. Because of their dual nature, they were able to fly and transform into human figures. Although Buddhism treated Tengu as evil beings, their image has improved somewhat in more recent times. The Tengu became particularly popular subjects during the eighteenth century at which more virtuous Tengu started to appear in stories and were linked to the yamabushi tradition of mountain asceticism. This netsuke shows one of these Tengu who blends medicine to heal people in ill health. The back and especially his hair and wings are carved with great detail. The cord holes are visible on the base.