Antique Japanese Meiji Boxwood Mennetsuke Mask of Otafuku
Dimensions: 2-50cmh x 2-0 cmw x 1-50cmd
This miniature Mennetsuke mask of boxwood (Tsuge), has two pierced eyes and mouth and incorporates extraordinarily fine carving of Otakufu in miniature netsuke form. It exhibits a wonderfully detailed face with a pronounced nose, showing a subtle smile below prominent cheeks with dimples, framed by delicately engraved hair. She exhibits two circular dots on her forehead of Buddhist religious significance, (which was seen in India as a symbol of enlightenment and directly related to Bodhidharma) and is referred to in Japan as an ‘Urna’. The reverse side of the Mennetsuke is a unique Himotoshi bar, signed, with the entire piece having a superb, smooth polish. Otafuku, also known in modern times as Okame is derived from the Shinto deity, Ama no uzume and is a popular figure in Bunraku and Kabuki dramas representing the Goddess of dawn, mirth, humor, and dancing). Some Japanese scholars theorize that long ago when the first Otafuku masks were created, they may have represented an idealized form of feminine beauty.
Condition: Excellent condition meaning no imperfections are found, with great color and patina and a good addition to any collection of these fascinating figures. Meets the standards of the collector of Japanese wood-carved folk art.
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