- Museum number
Figure. Kannon with a basket of fruit and entwined with a dragon. Made of ivory. Signed.
- Production date
- 1880-1900 (circa)
Height: 38.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- 観音と龍 象牙彫置物
Ivory figure of Kannnonn and dragon
Kannnon, the Buddhist deity of compassion and mercy, is known in Sanskrit as Avalokiteshvara.
Here, she stands serenely on a coiled dragon.
Her chest is decorated with jewls and she wears an elaborae headdress, while holding a water bottle in one hand a basket filled with lotus flowers, chrysanthemums and grapes in the other.
The rapid social changes that followed on from the Meiji Restoration of 1868, meant craft workers had to adopt western-style clothing, the demand for ivory netsuke (ornament toggles hidden within the folds of kimonos) fell. At the same time, developing overseas markets created a demand for okimono (purely oranament sculputure).
The signature of Shugetsu is on the base of this figure. He was probably a member of the Tokyo Ivory sculptors' Association, set up by the Japanese government to ensure that such skills were not lost.
Hand carved ivory with signature, Meiji era
(Label copy, 2017)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015 Apr-, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number