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Meiji bronze Oni group

Posted on 16 March 2012

Just to show you the best example of shakudo (raven's wing black) I am adding a picture from our stock.  This was exhibited at Masterpiece and New York last year.  An oni is a demon (imp really) but as you can see this one is totally benign.  We bought this piece because of the shakudo cloak, the unbelievable workmanship, (have a long look at the tiger skin greaves) and the curious subject matter.  Who is this oni?  He appears to be a wandering beggar with a begging bowl and a very tatty umbrella so why is he so richly dressed?  Why is he smiling so happily?  Also the little boy turns out to be a boy oni too as he has tiny little horns in his curly hair - I've never seen one of them before.  Can anyone read the tablet?  (Apparently it is not a signature.)

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