Wood netsuke of a sleeping Shojo, Tadashige

Nagoya school, early 19th century 

Signed Tadashige  in a rectangular reserve

Length: 3.8 cm

A sleeping Shojo, the head resting heavily in an upturned hand as it surrenders to the sedative effects of too much sake. The long, delicately carved hair cascades down the body. In reference to the Shojo's natural home by the seashore, she wears a woven outer robe over loose trousers carved with a rippling wave design. 

The worn reddish-brown wood has a lovely patina.

Famous in Japanese folklore for their orangey-red face and hair, a Shojo (literally “heavy drinker” or “orangutan”) is a Japanese sea spirit with similarities to a ghost, but differs to the latter in the fact that Shojo are tangible. They lived by the sea, drinking sake and sleeping off the effects of it.  Because the name is also a homophone for a young girl in Japanese, even though they are of indeterminate gender, they often have a sweet and feminine allure in netsuke



Inventory Nr: 1756

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