oni, in Japanese folklore, a type of demonic creature often of giant size, great strength, and fearful appearance. They are generally considered to be foreign in origin. Many scholars think they were introduced into Japan from China along with Buddhism. Cruel and malicious, they can, nevertheless, be converted to Buddhism. Though oni have been depicted in various ways in Japanese legend and art, sometimes also as women, they are characteristically thought of as pink, red, or blue-grey in colour, with horns, three toes, three fingers, and on occasion with three eyes.
Kagura, “god-entertainment”) refers to a specific type of theatrical dance—with roots predating Noh. Once strictly a ceremonial art connected to Shinto rituals, Kagura has evolved in many directions over the span of a millennium. Today it is very much a living tradition, with performances tied to the rhythms of the agricultural calendar, as well as a vibrant style theater.
Carved Japanese cypress wood
7-3/4” x 6-1/2” (19.8 cm x16.5 cm)
Item # 10008-M