Japanese Antiques and Japanese Art

Luminescent White Clay Sculpture of Inari Foxes

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Sculpture: Pre 1920: Item # 1001092

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Pair of Inari Foxes of sculptured and fired clay with luminescent powered white glaze. In traditional Japanese art, a pair of foxes typically flank the deity Inari’s shrine image. But in modern times, images of Inari have all but disappeared, replaced instead by images of Oinari’s messenger, the magical shape-shifting fox (kitsune 狐). Here the symbolism is two-fold. First, rice is sacred in Japan, closely associated with fertility (the pregnant earth) and with sustaining life. Inari and Inari’s foxes must therefore be placated -- otherwise it would be disastrous to the livelihood of the nation’s farmers and people. One fox has a jewel (houju) in his mouth, and the other carries in his mouth a letter (makimono), fulfilling his role as a messenger. These striking sculptures will transcend any room with their beauty, charm and elegance. 22 inches, 56cm tall.