Suzuki Tokoku (1846-1913)
Tokyo, circa 1890
The infant Prince Shotoku (Shotoku Taishi, 574-622 A.D.) sits cross-legged, as he is absorbed in his game. His left arm is wrapped around a model of a Haniwa pottery horse, his hand gripping its ear, while he seems to be talking to the model of a Haniwa warrior that he cradles in his other hand. The warrior’s smooth head is pierced in the centre, indicating the fixing point for a helmet. A shallow pottery dish with a key-fret border design holds two maga-tama, one of the three scared regalia of Japan, in green stained stag antler. The scene suggests the lucky amulets are being offered as nourishment to the two toys.
A sparse red colour on the stippled surface of the horse gives an impression of unglazed Haniwa clay.