Ryukosai Jugyoku - netsuke of the Ibaraki demon
Edo (Tokyo), circa 1870
A wood netsuke of the Ibaraki demon fleeing with a severed arm. This refers to the story of Watanabe no Tsuna who volunteered to stand guard at the Rashomon gate in Kyoto, a place terrorised by a group of demons. led by Ibaraki. Encountering him during his night time vigil, Watanabe drew his sword and severed it’s arm, securing it in a purified box. However, after some time the demon returned, this time disguised as Watanabe’s elderly nurse. Dropping his guard, she persuaded him to show her his trophy, thus seizing the limb and fleeing with it in a puff of wind. Jugyoku’s depiction here bears strong association with Shibata Zeshin’s illustration of the subject. Her body twists as she looks back, the wind fluttering her robes and hair, creating a sense of the dynamic movement of her escape.